Lanes Utilities shortlisted for New Civil Engineer TechFest Award

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Lanes Utilities has been shortlist for a New Civil Engineer TechFest Award after developing an app that monitors the happiness of its workforce.

Every day, the Feeling App asks all field operatives how happy they feel, and offers support for colleagues who say they want to talk to someone about a problem they face.

Lanes Utilities, part of Lanes Group plc, and Thames Water’s wastewater network services maintenance partner, has been shortlisted in the Best Use of Technology, Health and Safety, category of the awards, which are in their inaugural year.

Andy Brierley, Lanes Utilities Director, said: “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for a New Civil Engineer TechFest Award. We’re always seeking new ways to improve health and safety, and this award success.

“As a business, we care about the wellbeing of our people. Also, workforce happiness impacts on health and safety at work. We want our colleagues to be able to focus on doing the best and safest job they can for our customers.

“If they are worrying about other matters, whether that be related to personal concerns outside work or something that is making them unhappy at work, we want to do all we can to support them and resolve those difficulties.

“Most people in our workforce, especially younger colleagues, are very used to sharing information through their phones with apps. So, we created this Feeling App to allow them to alert us to any problems, and ask for help if they need it.”

The Feeling App is integrated with Lanes Utilities’ award-winning FieldViewer operational app. At the start of each shift, it asks all operational colleagues how happy they feel – giving five possible clickable responses, from very unhappy to very happy.

Colleagues are given the opportunity to talk to a senior member of the management team if they wish.

Response to the app has been very positive. The number of colleagues who identify themselves as being very unhappy has fallen to less than one per cent since it was introduced.

Senior managers have been able to support staff in resolving a range of issues, including debt problems, childcare, and disputes within work between colleagues.

The Feeling App generates data being used to assess and improve management processes, and support the introduction of further wellbeing and staff development initiatives designed to have a positive impact on wellbeing, staff retention, and productivity.

The app forms part of a range of innovative health and safety initiatives introduced by Lanes Utilities, which includes extending professional health and safety training to operational managers, and creation of the UK’s first 360-degree video training theatre.

Lanes Utilities will find out if it has won the award after giving a presentation to a panel of judges in front of a live audience at New Civil Engineer’s TechFest, a festival of innovation and technology being held at Hilton London, Bankside, on 14 September 2017.

Lanes Utilities is also a finalist for the Construction News Health and Safety Excellence Award 2017. The winner is due to be announced at an award ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 13 July.

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