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Impactful Small Talk: “Are you OK?”

Transform Lives with a Hello: The Mighty Impact of Daily Check-Ins!

Asking workers “how are you doing today?” may seem like a small gesture, but it can have a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing on construction jobsites. Construction work can be physically demanding and mentally challenging, and workers may face various stressors that can take a toll on their mental health. However, when they feel that their wellbeing is valued and cared for, it can promote positive emotions and reduce stress levels.

Research has shown that social support is a critical factor in promoting mental health and wellbeing. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that social support from coworkers was associated with lower levels of stress and better mental health outcomes among construction workers. When coworkers express care and concern for each other, it can create a sense of belonging and connection, which can help workers cope with stressors and improve their wellbeing.

Implementing the practice of asking workers “how are you doing today?” on construction jobsites can be achieved through various methods. For example, employers can train supervisors and managers to initiate these conversations and create a culture where it is encouraged. The conversations can be informal and brief, but they can have a significant impact on workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Employers can also use behavioral science principles to encourage these conversations. For instance, they can create a social norm where asking workers about their wellbeing is seen as a positive behavior. They can also use incentives such as rewards or recognition to encourage supervisors and managers to initiate these conversations.

Furthermore, employers can provide mental health resources such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) to workers who may need additional support. EAPs can provide counseling services, referrals to mental health professionals, and other resources to help workers manage stress and improve their mental health.

Asking workers “how are you doing today?” can be an effective intervention for promoting mental health and wellbeing on construction jobsites. By creating a culture of care and concern, employers can help reduce stress levels, promote positive social connections, and encourage workers to seek support when needed. By implementing the intervention and using behavioral science principles, employers can create a workplace that values mental health and wellbeing, which benefits both workers and the company as a whole.


Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Euwema, M. C. (2005). Job resources buffer the impact of job demands on burnout. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 10(2), 170-180.
Hammer, L. B., Kossek, E. E., Yragui, N. L., Bodner, T. E., & Hansen, G. B. (2009). Development and validation of a multidimensional measure of family supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB). Journal of Management, 35(4), 837-856.
Kelloway, E. K., Francis, L., Gatien, B., & LaMontagne, A. D. (2013). Leadership, supervisor, and peer support for occupational health and safety in Atlantic Canada. Journal of Safety Research, 44, 61-69.
Leiter, M. P., & Maslach, C. (2009). Nurse turnover: The mediating role of burnout. Journal of Nursing Management, 17(3), 331-339.
The American Institute of Stress. (2021). Social support. Retrieved from https://www.stress.org/social-support

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