Despite popular opinion, industry research shows that for the types of work required for construction projects working longer hours hinder production instead of improving it. Unfortunately, modern construction complexities and tight timelines for delivery routinely force construction managers into imposing overtime onto their teams.
The American Society of Civil Engineers released a research paper encouraging construction managers to reconsider overtime practices due to its negative effect on productivity. The impact of overtime extends beyond productivity to having a negative effect on the overall quality of life for the workers assigned to these large construction projects who can suffer from physical fatigue, become irritable and resentful of personal time lost.
We know that the consequences of resource fatigue are workers who have trouble focusing, understanding, and solving problems. Research results have shown productivity can decrease by up to 28% depending on the severity of the overtime imposed on workers. Poor labor productivity is one of the main reasons for costs overruns and projects falling behind schedule.
So what is the answer in an environment of complex infrastructure construction projects, tight deadlines, and an industry-wide resource shortage?
Innovation improves productivity.
Unfortunately, for the construction industry, technology hasn’t always been readily embraced, but with programs such as the FHWA’s Every Day Counts focus on innovative eConstruction solutions and the general increase in usage of mobile devices on jobsites the days of the tech adverse construction program are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Enabling your workers to communicate through technology as well as using it to assist in day to day tasks can help maximize output and overcome some of the most common productivity challenges.
One of the easiest ways to decrease the necessity for overtime requirements is to increase productivity during the standard working hours. Incorporating technology that enhances both collaboration and communication by using a technology platform that replaces an arduous and time consuming paper-based inspection and verification process is a promising first step. This step helps with workflow and communication and reduces risk by improving the quality and quantity of information collected. Having a virtual way for owners, construction managers, and contractors to communicate quickly can efficiently resolve issues that otherwise could lead to downtime and lost productivity. A solution that makes it easy for your team to collaborate can eliminate many of the time-wasters that happen on a typical project site.