Let’s imagine a construction worksite where employees can comfortably take their breaks in the same space and strengthen their team spirit – regardless of gender. With Ramirent and NCC’s joint project, this may become a reality. Gender neutral modules contribute to creating a more equal worksite with improved communication. This, in turn, results in a competitive advantage.
It’s obvious that no one should feel like an intruder at their own workplace or fear that they are bothering others because of their gender, religion, sexual orientation or some other reason. Unfortunately, construction has fallen behind on equality and diversity issues. That’s why there is room for improvement, for instance, in the share of women in the industry. The problem, however, isn’t merely based on culture. Physical obstacles at the workplace may also hinder the development of an equal environment.
For a long time, construction has been a world of men, and it hasn’t adapted very much to people with different needs. To make it more appealing for different kinds of people, we need change, and this work reaches from attitudes to bins for feminine hygiene products.
In Sweden, NCC’s women’s network decided to find out what kinds of challenges women encounter at construction worksites. Ramirent was invited to join the work, and the task was first mapped out in a joint workshop. Already at the start of the project, we noted how important it is to take individuality into account.
Team spirit on the job
We noticed with NCC that on many worksites, women are separated from men in their own space in which their needs in particular have been taken into consideration. But this hampers the development of a sense of belonging at the workplace and also makes it trickier to communicate within the work community. It’s possible to adapt worksite modules to different needs and support community spirit and a more equal workplace at the same time.
Worksites are full of demanding tasks, and it takes good teamwork to finish a day efficiently, safely and on time. That’s why it’s important that each employee feels like they are part of the crew. This isn’t possible if, for instance, women are placed in their own areas, away from the men. In the worksite modules developed by Ramirent and NCC, employees can eat together and change into their work gear in the same space.
So how do you change clothes in gender neutral modules without sacrificing the employees’ need for privacy? Usually at worksites, there is a room with a long bench and above it are hooks for hanging clothes. Gender neutral modules have lockable booths for changing clothes instead. Simple but effective!
Diverse personnel brings results
The impact of gender neutral modules also carries further than well-being at the workplace. We at Ramirent believe that equal and diverse employees and a work community which acknowledges diversity is an important factor for the development and growth of companies.
“Companies that don’t succeed in attracting women and people with different backgrounds will not make it in the competition. Equality and diverse personnel create competitive advantage by offering new kinds of viewpoints and more versatile know-how. An equal company stands steady and strong, and gender neutral modules are one step towards that goal,” says Jonas Söderkvist, Executive Vice President, Denmark and Sweden, Ramirent.
We are now working on a pilot where NCC evaluates the worksite modules used in the first project. We are also going through our offering to find out whether we have other module models which we can make more gender neutral. Our goal is to offer gender neutral worksite modules more broadly to our customers in different countries.