The effects of COVID have been felt far and wide, with small business owners feeling the strain. Research from insurance provider Simply Business has revealed that 76% of tradespeople say COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, with 58% saying they’ve felt stressed and 45% experiencing anxiety.
It’s really important that the industry encourages conversation around mental health and general wellbeing and that we collectively support each other.
That’s why we’re sharing some of our tips for staying happy and healthy on the job:
Finding the balance
Installers are known for working long and demanding hours, with work on-site during the day followed by handling customer paperwork and quotes by night. For small business owners, time is money, with installers often opting to work evenings and weekends to squeeze in an extra job. As with any career, the key to happiness is finding the right work-life balance.
One way of freeing up hours in the day is to work smarter and embrace technology. By automating things like invoicing and reminders for boiler servicing, installers can save time that would otherwise be spent on admin. Automated reminders can also help to build up a steady pipeline of repeat work, building a loyal customer base rather than continually needing to spend time on finding new customers.
It can also help to choose products that will reduce your time on site and allow you to get on with the job faster. Our push-fit solutions allow you to complete your project in half the time compared to traditional methods. Selecting easy to fit and reliable solutions speeds up the job and mean it’s more likely to be right-first-time – allowing you to move on to the next job, or take some well-earned time out.
Reduce the physical impact of your work
Being an installer can be physically demanding. A lot of time is spent in cramped, dark and damp places, crawling around on the floor or carrying heavy equipment. Bad backs are known to be a huge issue for installers of all ages. For this reason, it is important to take care of your physical health. We all know making “the right choice” when it comes to diet and exercise plays a vital role in both physical and mental health – but there are other ways to relieve the pressure.
Selecting products that minimise time-on-site and physical impact can make a real difference. RWC’s JG Speedfit and SharkBite use extremely reliable push-fit technology, without using hazardous and time-consuming solders, flux and glue, reducing the risk of health hazards on the job. For underfloor heating projects, JG Speedfit Layflat pipe comes in a variety of sizes and as it is lightweight, it’s easy to carry around the site and cable through joists. Additionally, RWC’s Reliance Valves offer a range of space-saving combination valves, such as the Tenant Valve plus, designed to make installations easier in tight and confined areas. These valves make it less likely that you’ll need to squeeze into awkward spaces to complete the job.
Putting health and hygiene first
With the recent pandemic and lockdowns very fresh in everyone’s minds, the role of PPE in protecting yourself against hazards has become very well-known. For installers, who go from home to home, as well as in and out of trade stores to pick up supplies, taking precautions to keep COVID-safe is a given.
However, the very nature of the job means that keeping safe from water and airborne disease and other health hazards is – and has always been – an important part of the role.
In the line of duty, installers face dangers from asbestos, dust, lead, chemicals, silicosis, steam burns and water-borne diseases and bacteria. For those who get involved with pipe fittings, the hazards of welding or solvent use – including frequent eye problems and lung issues – can be avoided by switching to push-fit technologies. For many hazards encountered by installers, practicing good health, safety and hygiene is enough – including washing boots and clothing in a chlorine solution. While the hygiene issues of removing old plumbing installations are front of mind, many of the less obvious hazards are airborne – COVID or not, protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask, goggles or splashproof shield, overalls and gloves.
Keep the conversation flowing and seek support
At RWC, we think it is important to focus on wellbeing and we firmly believe that it is good to talk. If you’re suffering from work-related anxiety, or experiencing issues in your personal life that are affecting your mental or physical health, please speak to friends and family or seek help from a professional.