It will come as no surprise that being away from friends and family causes stress and unhappiness. With a culturally diverse workforce operatives are often a long way from home but even those living in the UK can still be far enough from home that they struggle to spend quality time with the people most important to them. Feelings of isolation and loneliness will only compound mental ill health.
People often stay in the cheapest accommodation which as no signal or wife, they have not enough data on their phone contracts and as such they miss their family and can in some cases compensate in other ways like excessive alcohol intake.
We spoke with one site Foreman whose experience illustrated the difficulties of working away. Mr Brown lives in Birmingham however his employer needed him to be based in London for the next leg of work. Mr Brown had been working long hours all week outside in terrible weather, his stress levels were high as the job was tough and he’d been living in a hotel room. The weekend had finally arrived and he’d really missed his wife and two kids. He arrived home and as he came through the door his daughter flew down the stairs shouting and screaming about something her brother had done to upset her, his son then appeared also shouting they then started shouting at each other and trying to get their Dad involved in the row. With that Mr Brown’s wife appeared and having been on her own with the kids all week and dealing with their arguments she rather than greet him with a hug started getting annoyed and told him to deal with it! Mr Brown then had to tell his kids off, it was the first time he’d seen them in over a week. Hi daughter ran upstairs in tears having told him she hated him and his son stormed out of the house. Mr Brown’s wife then got upset and told him he was never there for her and didn’t understand the pressure and stress she was under, this turned into a row and she stormed upstairs to bed. Mr Brown was left by himself watching TV having not even had a hug or a single kind word from his family.
His response was, the first time I’d spoken to my kids it was negative, now given what had transpired that day I’d probably have had to be have been the parent and it would have been negative but the fact that made it worse for him was the fact that he’d not seen them all week and the first time he did so it was negative.
We set up a phone room on site, a room where there was a dedicated Wi-Fi for operatives to use at any time to call their family.
The room has several ‘booths’ where operatives can use the terminals provided by Mount Anvil to skype their family, or alternatives people can use the wi-fi with their own devices to call using our data to keep in touch or read a bed time story.
The room was a ‘phone home room’ but the operatives almost immediately called it the relaxation room, which is testament to the effect the facility had for the operatives.
With the true scale of the problem now being realised and discussed, all of us now need to start thinking outside the box to tackle the causes of stress and mental health.
Please follow this link to view our Phone Home campaign video.