We're not (construction) machines! – Health in Construction

With everything that happens in our industry, the individual is often neglected. This time, our podcast guests are Jan Zeltmann and Patrick O'Mahony from SelfConcept. In their daily work, they deal with the importance of health in construction, among other things. What can we do to be more successful in both our professional and private lives? Enjoy reading!

What is behind SelfConcept?

First of all, our guests tell us a little bit about themselves. Patrick was an employee of a large engineering company and was very dissatisfied. He was constantly ill and could not motivate himself to change anything. On a business trip to Korea, he met his coach, from whom he learned that he had to take his life into his own hands. So he trained himself as a coach and quit his job to set up his own business.

Jan's career was quite similar to his. He was a competitive swimmer, but didn't enjoy it and quit. He subsequently went through a difficult period that left him dissatisfied physically and mentally. He decided to make a complete change in his life and to help others to experience this change as well.

So he continued his education, too, and then worked as a personal trainer. When Patrick and Jan met, they decided to start a company focused on people's health and wellbeing. This is how SelfConcept was born.

SelfConcept's Mission

First of all, we want to know more about the work of our guests, of course. Jan explains that they consider the concepts of diet, exercise, and biohacking as a holistic foundation of a successful life. After all, everything in our everyday lives depends on energy. They are not limited to the professional level, but are equally aimed at people who want  a better quality of life and a better family life. He briefly summarizes the SelfConcept mission for us:

  • We help entrepreneurs and top performers to become even more efficient."

Our health is the basis of our existence. What do we have without it? We need health and energy to successfully master our everyday lives. Patrick explains that at SelfConcept, they divide life into three areas. One of them is job and money.

The second important area is social interaction with other people. Today, it is the third area that is important: health. Without this last part, work and social issues no longer function. Prevention is especially important here in order to avert a problematic phase.

Increased focus on physical and mental health is especially important in the construction industry. No matter whether on the construction site or in the office: employees are exposed to various stresses that should not be neglected, of course.

Health as Individual Mission

A healthy diet and exercise are, of course, classic methods to ensure your own health in the long term. Patrick tells us that diet is a very important point. Without bricks, houses cannot be built, and without the right nutrients, our bodies cannot function properly. However, the important thing is to always enjoy everything.

Exercise is a very individual subject, as is diet. Not everyone likes a morning jog or doing general strength training at home. Everyone is different and notices relatively quickly what they need to be healthy and satisfied.

What is biohacking?

Another very exciting term that our guests have used since the beginning is biohacking. What's behind this? Roughly speaking, biohacking is about optimizing yourself and thus achieving higher performance. Patrick talks about typical aspects, such as sleep optimization and dietary supplements, or optimizing one's own biorhythm.

Health in Construction

Such problems are just as prevalent in the construction industry as in other industries. If I currently have a lot to do in the office to submit a large project on time, I have to work overtime, and thus get to bed later. On external construction sites, in addition to all the stress, I have to eat whatever food is as fast and accessible as possible. Everyday work in the construction industry often does not allow for a consistent rhythm.

In our demanding, fast-moving society, there is often little time to deal extensively with your own health—whether physical or mental. It is important to start, even if you take only small steps.

In the end, the time we devote to our health brings us more productivity. This allows us to achieve much better and faster performance at work. If we can hand in a project before the deadline due to our higher energy, we have more time left in the end.

Of course, it is difficult to implement big changes. So the following applies here: step by step to success. Slow increases bring us better and better results. The most important thing is that it is precisely these slow changes that have the most sustainable effect in the end. Better performance at work due to better health will eventually lead to greater appreciation of your colleagues and may even lead to a promotion in the end.

It also makes a big difference to our families and our entire social environment if we still have enough energy and are in a good mood after work to still be able to do the things we want to do. This is often noticeable after a few weeks.

Company Health Management

Of course, it is important that the concept of health and wellbeing is first and foremost put into practice at the management level. Because in their role model function, employers can only pass on and successfully implement things that they also take to heart themselves.

A classic approach is to simply offer healthy lifestyle options in your own company; for example, in the form of a fruit basket. Providing a shower can also make sense in case employees who decide to bike to work can take a quick shower right in the office and then feel more comfortable immediately.

And those who feel comfortable are more productive at work. A training or meditation room can also be useful. Such activities also strengthen cohesion between the employees and lift the mood. A permanent canteen in the company is also a good way of bringing healthy, balanced food to your employees. And most important: the food has to be delicious, it has to be enjoyable, so that employees are happy to accept such an offer.

In short: a company should operate holistic company health management. One measure builds on the other and, above all, this is again about the prevention of health problems.

Future of Health in Construction

Patrick assumes that health will play an increasingly important role in the future. In order to determine the individual needs of a person, genetic analyses will probably become the standard in the next few years. Who needs which supplements, and in what amount? In the future, this question can be answered quickly and clearly to make biohacking possible for everyone without much effort.

In addition to animal and plant sources of nutrients, cultivated varieties will be added in the future. The Internet of Things (IoT) will also bring about major changes. The SmartToilet analyzes a stool sample and sends information in real time to your coffee machine or 3D steak printer which nutrients you currently need to meet your needs. So, very exciting things are to come.

For the future of the construction industry, the two would like to change the cliché images that many have in mind. No longer people in their mid-forties who can hardly move because of back problems, but healthy people who take care of themselves and perform well. Nobody should tremble at the prospect of having to submit a project, but should be happy, because the whole thing has already been lying finished in the drawer for two days.

For such a positive change, the will to make a change, as well as outside help are often necessary. Our guests would like to emphasize once again that the most important moment in this entire process is right at the beginning. Making a start is the first step towards leading a healthy, satisfying life for each of us.

Patrick and Jan have another surprise for our listeners and readers. Everyone in our community who decides to finally start can get a performance course for free. Find more information about this at:

More About SelfConcept Performance Course

What is your favorite structure?

So let’s get to our mandatory final question. Which building has impressed you the most or is particularly memorable? Patrick was particularly impressed by the company's huge campus, which he saw during his business trip to Korea. He was fascinated by the sheer size and the amount of people moving between the buildings. Otherwise, he fondly thinks back on the Golden Gate Bridge and the city center of Valencia.

Jan tells us about his last half marathon in Lisbon, Portugal. There, the Christo-Rei sculpture made a particularly lasting impression on him. For him, the pose alone means unlimited freedom. We can understand that well. Thank you for being with us!

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As a copywriter in marketing, Ms. Ruthe is responsible for creating creative texts and gripping headlines.