How Construction Companies Can Create a Productive and Fun Work Culture

How to create a fun workplace culture for construction companies

Businessman jumping into beanbag chair in office
Businessman jumping into beanbag chair in office. Robert Daly/Getty Images

Some construction companies were born to produce. Others are having productivity thrust upon them. Collaboration and construction management software help keep jobs on track, boost efficiency and lower down time to a minimum. Surveying data can be integrated directly into building information modeling programs and even drive construction machinery on site. Mobile construction applications make it easier for employees to stay in touch, connected and productive wherever they are.

What companies need now is a solution for attracting or helping people to integrate the advances in productivity into a culture that is fun too.

Do I Really Need a Productive and Fun Work Culture?

Construction productivity has always been a concern. It is strongly linked to profitability, although you need to be sure you are doing the right things, and not just doing things right. Productivity is also influenced by fun. Sustainable fun in turn depends on how much employees feel valued, supported and free to achieve. If these conditions are not present, people can only wear their smiles upside-down for so long before productivity takes a dive. Companies need to create the right conditions. Employees then take the final step towards having fun.

Cultural Cross-Pollination Could Be an Answer

If you are like many other construction companies, you are already looking beyond traditional boundaries for your people.

The same tactic could work for your company culture too. Consider Google, the company that won (for the fifth time) the award of “Best Company to Work For” by Fortune Magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute. Google’s tactics include: 

  • Employees knowing what fellow workers are working on.
  • Regular employee surveys about the quality of their managers
  • Significant freedom about how and when work is completed.
  • 20 percent of an employee’s work time can be devoted to whatever ethical and lawful activity that employee wants to pursue.
  • Free on-site car wash, doctor and fitness center with personal trainer
  • No formal dress code, and also pajama days, dress-up days and Halloween costume parties
  • Frequent breaks, facilities for wall climbing and beach volleyball

Don’t throw your hands up in despair. After all, all of this is for a multi-billion dollar company with 50,000 employees working in a largely virtual environment. The question is, what can a construction company – of any size – take away and use from these ideas?

It’s the Thought that Counts

Construction companies must often work to strict schedules. If ready-mix concrete isn’t used within minutes of delivery for example, it’s a disaster. Similarly, safety rules must be observed, especially on construction sites. Yet within these constraints, there are possibilities to increase the quotient of fun.

  • Transparency. Build the trust with your employees that lets internal information be shared and good ideas be redeployed in neighboring projects too.
  • Flexibility. Where circumstances allow it, experiment with flexible working. Expect results and keep an eye on progress, but give employees greater latitude to organize their work.
  • Breaks. Google gets more out of its employees by letting them rest more. It’s as simple as that.
  • Perks. They make the difference by being unexpected, yet appreciated. They can both increase the fun factor and show employees that their company cares about them.

New Worlds for Construction Companies

Software to plan and model construction projects, prefabricated building modules and now the Internet of Things are all opening up new worlds. Many of Google’s most profitable offerings came from employees using (and having fun with) their 20 percent of free time. Perhaps construction companies will be able to reap the benefits of similar tactics in the not too distant future.

Advances in construction technology are turning the industry on its head – could construction work culture changes do the same?