Building resilience at work

The need for resilience in the workplace has become far more recognised in recent years. In the past, employees could realistically expect a job for life in industries that seemed like they’d always stand the test of time.


However, employees will now have to be able to deal with the pressures of modern working life. Being resilient will involve being able to handle increased workloads, changing priorities, organisational change, and even redundancy.


What is resilience?

Resilience can be defined as being able to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. A more formal definition is ‘the successful adaptation to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions’ (Windle, 1999).


Levels of resilience can depend on both the person involved, and the environment they’re in. For example, an employee’s resilience will be affected by elements of their personality, such as their sense of humour, level of optimism, perspective, and self-belief.


Resilience will also be dependent on the experience the employee has within their workplace environment, such as the amount of social support they receive, their workload, or level of managerial support.


How can we build resilience?

Although some people could be said to have born with higher levels of resilience than others, it is possible for employers to help develop resilience at work.


Encouraging personal wellbeing will improve mental health. Employers can promote healthy eating by providing lower-calorie meals and snacks in the workplace canteen, or by offering free fruit. Physical exercise can be encouraged with a bike-to-work scheme, or by organising frequent fundraising activities.


Developing a healthy environment at work will make it a happier place to be. Training managers to be more understanding regarding issues such as stress and mental health should help create a more trusting atmosphere. Well-designed work is an important factor too, where employees can manage and vary their workload and have the opportunity to learn new skills.


Strong social networks and open communication will help employees face any workplace problems. Encouraging team social events will help build friendships, and being having managers being open and honest in performance appraisals will build trust.


Holding regular performance appraisals will also let employees set career goals, which will give a sense of achievement when they’ve been met. Setting realistic and achievable goals builds a positive mindset, which in turn builds resilience.


How can Deminos help?

At Deminos, we can offer your employees access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to advise on employee wellbeing. This can help prevent mental health-related sickness absence, and help you maintain a happy, productive workplace.


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Author David Ralph

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