What is Wrong with the Construction Industry? Part 2, Symptom 2

Symptom 2 – Overwork

[Construction workers] will take what sleep they can, where ever they can be it on the morning train or in a dark corner of a construction site.

Demand > Supply = Overwork

The industry is booming! Everywhere you look, you see new development; I can see twenty-one cranes in my view right now. Housebuilders cannot build fast enough to meet demand which is only going to increase with our birth rate climbing as it is. With human resource in short supply but enormous demand (Symptom 1), we, the individuals of construction, have more work to do than we can handle.

Enormous loads are being placed on our shoulders beneath which we are buckling. When you see construction workers on the train in the morning in dirty work gear and hard hats strapped to their bag, are they reading? No, they are sleeping. When you see them again in the evening, are they drunk from an evening’s fun with friends? No, again, they are sleeping. They’ll take what sleep they can, where ever they can be it on the morning train or in a dark corner of a construction site. They are overworked and under-rested.

The once overwork soon become stressed

Our Solution is to Find More Time

“I need more time!”, the majority say hoping that if that prayer were answered, the pressure would be alleviated. In an effort to take charge, people try to buy the time they need for work with time invested in their personal commitments (which leads to Symptom 3 – Life Imbalance). However, overwork does not reduce; it worsens.

The intention may have been for this transfer of time to be a temporary supplement, but it quickly fills like a flooding river’s adjacent plains purposefully filled to protect the town downstream. Once the levee breaks and the floods pour in, though, it’s hard to recover.

Once the levee breaks… it’s hard to recover.

Your only hope is to stem the flow and repair the levee. But the flow is never stemmed, and both river (professional life) and plains (personal life) are now flooded. The complaints continue, “I still haven’t enough time.” Families suffer, physical and mental health decline.  The once overworked soon become stressed (see Symptom 4) and stressed minds make mistakes (see Symptom 6 – Incompetence/ Ineffectiveness).

There is far more work to do than people to do it. As a result, we are grossly overworked. The solution we choose leads to Symptom 3, Life Imbalance.

Read Next, Symptom 3, Life Imbalance →

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