Having a few beers is good for you!
Yes, I said it. Not the usual thing you would hear from a HR & Safety professional….they normally have the big stick out, hands on hips and wagging the finger at you. Be very sure though, I’m not advocating abuse or misuse in any way, I’m just saying having a few social beers with your colleagues at the end of the day can have some real benefits.
Mining is one of the most heavily tested industries for drug and alcohol use, with some companies testing every employee that passes through the gate on a daily basis. It is also one of the most stressful industries with long hours, living away from home and working in dangerous and inhospitable conditions.
Most of the tips being put forward regarding managing the stresses of the job are based around healthy eating, exercise and watching your alcohol intake. As a HR & Safety professional I am a realist when it comes to how much influence I can have on whether employees choose to follow these guidelines, or at least I am now. I did have a spectacular fail when I tried to get a bunch of drillers to participate in yoga as part of their pre-start stretches! It turns out that they were not attending yoga retreats when they went to Bali and Thailand.
When I first started in the role, I was looked at with suspicion. I didn’t take it personally; it was the role that they didn’t trust. I was seen as the fun police and a management narc. To do my job effectively though I had to gain their trust, so I set about it by asking questions and listening, and I found the best time to do this was at the end of the day and that meant having a beer in my hand while we all relaxed. In this informal setting the conversation flowed, we got to know each other much better and some real insights were gained and friendships formed. Performance reviews were even conducted this way and they turned out to be some of the best and most honest I’ve ever had part of!
Having a couple of beers at the end of the day with your work mates creates a support network that becomes vital in times of need. It is these people that sometimes understand best what you are going through on a day to day basis. Just don’t overdo it. If things are getting tough reach out to your companies EAP provider, HR department or Lifeline.