The Monday Morning Club by Steve Kerslake


At ground level, membership to the Monday Club is spilling over. Not turning up for work on a Monday has never been so common.

by Steve Kerslake  /  August 22, 2022

Our industry is in a major crisis with staff shortages, top to bottom.

The pressure from the very top is crippling our sector, major financial investment into projects is higher than ever, and a sector is driven by deadlines and programmes, leaving businesses in a position where taking a breather and focusing on their relationships with their own staff is falling short. 

I see it first hand, working across the sector for a number of years now both employed and self-employed. 

It is a very rare occurrence that a company will go one week fully staffed. 

At ground level, membership to the Monday Club is spilling over, and construction workers not appearing for work on a Monday morning is as common as ever, leaving management starting the week on the back foot once again.

But who’s to blame?

It’s very easy to blame the operative, liability, waste of time, bad work ethic, time waster, a joke. The words echo around site offices on a very regular basis.

But could it be that middle management or the business is to blame?

Hear me out, a little shall we say “devil’s advocate”.

Could it be the company? When was the last time you spoke one-to-one with that Monday morning member? What’s going on in their head? Do you know anything about that person’s personal life? Does your company genuinely care about its people? Could you be to blame?

Many construction workers will jump ship for an extra pound an hour, again it’s an easy option to say that theirs no loyalty on the ground but will things ever change if we just keep on spitting out excuses?

With all these issues in the industry, business leaders have got to take hold of it otherwise change will not happen.

If you have a direct & respectful relationship with the workforce. And create an environment that proves as a business that you do give a damn, change will happen.

I’ve worked on the ground for many years and I’ve seen it. I’ve been there. I’ve been to the Monday Club. But never was I a part of the Monday Club for a company I respected.

I’ve been pushed and made to stay past working hours to ensure jobs are complete and then been knocked for overtime.

We’ve put hours upon hours into preparing jobs for big concrete pours, targeting the job to be complete and ready for pour Monday morning. Only then once we were ahead of schedule was the decision made by engineers in offsite offices to bring the pour forward to a Friday.

Denying the team who live up north of getting home to their families to read their kids a book before bedtime. Denying many of us the chance of a quick beer on the way home. Denying us the opportunity to look back and say we did well this week.

Instead, we were beasted and made to pour concrete until 9 pm on a Friday night.

Our achievements turned to resentment and any sign of respect between boots & suits was gone. Come Monday morning the engineer who had made the call was their chest out, head held high, ready to address Monday morning’s management with a successful week behind him.

On paper that past week looked very good, but the reality of it…… 8 out of 15 lads arrived onsite Monday morning, and what do we hear? Lads haven’t turned up this morning, liabilities, time wasters, jokers…

That one day to race ahead of the programme soon backfired, respect was lost from both parties, guys had jumped ship for the extra quid, guys no longer stayed an extra hour to help the job. The “favours” the engineers needed from the operatives on a daily basis were then rejected. Programme slipped away faster than ever.

I completely understand that it’s tough and getting workers to turn up on site Monday morning is an incredibly hard task. But, just take a second next Monday morning and reflect on the past week, reflect on your relationship with the operatives, and put yourself in their boots.

Respect is a two-way street.

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