Mental Health in Our Workplace

January 31, 2019

A restoration project – whether a wind damaged home, frozen pipes, or a flooded basement – is stressful for a home or business owner. We know you just want to sleep in your own bed, or get your business running back to normal. At DKI-CRCS, we’ve built our reputation on making sure that happens, and we’ve done it in the same place we call home. You’re our friends and neighbours, we see you at the store or the park. We’re there for you any time of day or night, and we’ve operated that way since we started in 1979.

As we’ve grown, we’ve adapted to changes in the industry, learning new skills and adopting best practices. We’ve focused on hiring the best people we can find, and then training to become even better. All of this has meant we’re able to respond when the need arises.

Sometimes though, the need is bigger than anyone might expect.

This past April, the Durham Region was hit hard by a wind storm. As homeowners began calling insurance companies, we flew into action. By the end of the day on April 4th, we’d already seen almost double the number of calls we get in a busy month. Eleven days later, an ice and rain storm hit our home region and our call volume nearly doubled again. That ice storm caused $190 million in damage to Ontario homes and businesses, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, but the worst was still to come.

On May 4th, a wind storm blew across much of the province and did so much damage that our workload from that storm was five times what we’d see in a busy month. While in April we were able to call on other DKI affiliates to help with the work, the May storm was so widespread, those offices had more than enough claims of their own to resolve. The IBC reported this storm did a total of $380 million in damages across the province.

With no recovery time from the first storms, we worked constantly to put our client’s lives back to normal. In certain ways, we felt we couldn’t compromise quality for speed. We hire only the best, we don’t cut corners, and yet this volume of weather impact strained every part of your lives, and ours. The mental health and well-being of our clients has helped drive how we do our jobs at every step of a restoration project. This past year, we learned just how much all of these projects impact our own staff.

The truth we’re seeing and living in the restoration business is that unpredictable weather events are leading to burn out, not just at DKI-CRCS, but across the industry. In 2018, we lost some of our staff due to overwhelming workload. While we have been able to fill those roles and even hire extra staff, we’ve seen first-hand that this kind of workload would be unsustainable over the long term.

Thankfully we’ve invested in an employee benefits program that offers mental health support. This year, more than any other, our staff is making use of these benefits to help manage the workload.  It’s proven invaluable to us, because our employees are like family. We work closely together in stressful situations all to bring the life of one client back to normal. And then we move on to the next client. And the next.

As we start a new year, we’re continuing to prepare ourselves for those unpredictable times that we know lay ahead. We warehouse supplies, continue to train and practice ways to improve how we help you. We provide insight into how to prepare your homes and businesses to better weather the storm, and we clean up when we’re needed. We bring on new employees and train them to our highest standards.

Every month, we’re publishing new information on how you can help prepare your home and business for those unforeseen disasters. We think preparation is the key to weathering a storm, and if it means you don’t need to call on us, we’re ok with that. You’re our neighbours and our friends. Helping you out is just a part of what it means to be a community.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way. The Durham region is our home. It’s where we’ve invested our professional and personal lives, giving our spare time to supporting local charities, meeting face to face with our neighbours in good times and bad, even helping lead the charge when big businesses turn their back on Durham. So when a storm blows into our home and hurts our friends and neighbours, we feel that impact right along with you. Then we work to get your life back to normal. It’s what we do, and we’re ready to stand beside you no matter what the future brings.

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