Why resilience in the workplace matters

Lizzie Buxton

Written By Pat Ashworth, Director of Learning Solutions, AdviserPlus

3rd December 2020

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As the effects of the current pandemic continue and workplaces have so many additional challenges, there has never been a more important time to look at how we respond to difficulties and what we can do to develop techniques that help us to do that.

Resilience is a word that’s often used in work circles and it certainly features a lot on the HR agenda. It can be a powerful tool for dealing with the ups and downs of life and work, and building our own resilience plays a big part in keeping ourselves well, despite whatever life throws at us.

So what is resilience and why is it a hot topic right now?

Resilience is effectively our ability to cope with the challenges, stresses and strains that our complex lives throw at us. We all have them – from family problems, to finances, to work worries. Our response to these issues might differ depending on how we feel on any particular day.

Let’s add to that list the effects of a global pandemic on us all.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking to our clients about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and their teams, the main themes being:

  • The financial impact on their business because of a reduced or removed ability to trade
  • Having to reduce headcount
  • Huge amounts of uncertainty about what comes next
  • Isolation during home working
  • Front line working leading to potential increased risk
  • Anxiety about health and the future
  • Juggling lifestyle changes such as childcare and work
  • Fear about the return to work

It’s probably fair to say that no individual, from the youngest children, to school leavers, workers and the elderly, has come through the last six months completely unscathed.

And there are further changes to come, whether that be decisions on levels of lockdowns or the end of the nationwide response as a vaccine emerges. And let’s remember that in some ways, we have got used to this now – we have adapted the way we work, shop and behave since March. While returning to a sort of normal will be good news for many businesses, this will also bring a further major change for many people who have settled into the current ways of working,

Because lifestyle changes have been so significant and so many staff have either been working at the coal face, or have been home working or furloughed, there is a real requirement for organisations to look at ways to support staff going forward, especially as they navigate whatever comes next and ask people to step out of what ‘normal’ has looked like since late March.

It’s worth remembering that any change, no matter how positive, can affect how we feel. For some people, changes as significant as the ones we have been through recently and continue to go through, can affect their mental wellbeing, even if temporarily.

How can resilience help?

Building our resilience and the resilience of others around us means that we are more able to deal with difficult situations, adapt to changes and carry on. Resilience is not about avoiding difficult situations, or even denying when you feel sad or upset. Its’s about recognising that this too shall pass and that with every scenario comes an option to choose your response.

How do you know how resilient you are? Well, think about how you feel on an average day or week.

Is your energy a bit low? Do you maybe feel a bit down and fed up a lot of the time? Do you find that you struggle to relax or that you are relying on a glass of wine or a cake to make you feel better? We ALL have days like that, but when feeling like this becomes the norm, it’s a sign that something needs to change.

Several of our webinars in the Managing Through Uncertainty series talk about mental health being a continuum – the big indicator of our mental health being how we feel about ourselves and the world. Building our resilience can form a big part of that. We know from ONS figures that cases of depression have doubled during lockdown. Now, resilience isn’t a cure all – depression and other mental illnesses are complex and need professional support, but if we go back to that continuum of general mental health, practicing resilience is to your mental health what making sure you get 10,000 steps per day is to your physical health – you feel better.

Now what about the team around you, or those returning to work? What signs are they showing? Are they fired up and ready to go? In which case, great! Or are you sensing low motivation, anxiety and negativity about the next few months? There is an inevitable impact on performance when people feel this way.

Build your resilience

The good news is you can raise your own level of resilience and support others around you to do the same. Building resilience is a bit like building body strength, it takes time and practice, but as you continue to do so, it gets easier. There are lots of techniques out there to help and a number of models, but the core principles remain the same.

At AdviserPlus Learning Solutions, we are passionate about all things mental health and believe resilience is a powerful tool in maintaining the kind of outlook that allows people to live happy, fulfilling lives, so we have designed a number of workshops that can help you and your team to build their personal resilience with practical techniques.

Our workshop on Building Resilience has been designed to encourage teams to reflect on what causes them to feel stress, their current challenges are, and provide delegates with strategies to change their paradigm and increase their mental resilience.

For more information about this course, get in touch via the form on our manager training page. One of our team will get back to you to discuss your requirements.

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