How to build resilience in the workplace

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Health Assured team

08 August 2019

Working life is a major stressor for most employees.

Even those who love what they do are still bound to encounter situations that present them with challenges and complications.

When this happens, it’s not uncommon to experience stress, anxiety and, in extreme cases, depression. The ability to endure and display mental and emotional resilience is a skill needed for most workplaces.

A 2017-2018 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report found that work-related stress, anxiety and depression accounted for more than half of all working days lost to ill health in Great Britain.

With this in mind, it’s important to train your staff in the skills required to cope with stress. Practising resilience at work goes a long way to progressing within an organisation.

As well as highlighting why it’s important, this piece will also explore the association between resilience and mental health in your workforce.


What is resilience?

The American Psychological Association defines it as “The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.”

So it’s the ability to withstand pressure and adjust to changing circumstances. It gives individuals the strength they need to cope with and overcome stresses and hardships at work or home.

Within the work setting, resilience allows employees to deal with the challenges of work (including workload, deadlines, colleagues and clients) without becoming overwhelmed.

Characteristics of resilient employees include the ability to:

  • Overcome.
  • Withstand.
  • Endure.
  • Adapt.
  • Resist. 
  • Tolerate.
  • Be flexible. 


Why is resilience important?

Due to the changing demands of a workplace, employers now recognise the importance of wellbeing and resilience as it relates to leadership, progression and performance in an organisation.

As well as helping to reduce the severity of existing mental health conditions, it’s also essential for averting the beginnings of mental health problems.

Teaching your employees how to build resilience at work helps to develop efficient problem-solving skills and maintain interpersonal relationships.

By focusing on the four areas of resilience (feeling, doing, thinking and being), your workforce can demonstrate flexibility and agility. All of which contribute to amplifying not only their productivity but also to meeting the overall company goals.

It plays an important role in an employee’s ability to manage issues as they arise and helps them to identify their strengths and develop the means to bounce back from adversity.

Examples of resilience at work include:

  • Staff members reframing setbacks as learning opportunities.
  • Managing strong emotions and impulses.
  • Taking a positive approach towards increased workloads or changing projects.

When your staff are resilient, they’re able to demonstrate flexibility and agility, which allows them to build strong relationships that’ll contribute to amplifying not only their productivity but also the overall company goals.


How to build resilience

While some people are naturally inclined towards resilience, the rest of us have to work on our behaviours, thoughts and actions to develop the skills needed to cope with the increasing and changing pressures of work.

Resilience training programmes provide your employees with the tools they need to boost mental, emotional and physical resilience.

Although the ability to build emotional resilience at work depends greatly on the employee, as an employer there are things you can do to encourage this:

  • Taking breaks: When facing mounting pressures from workloads or tight deadlines, it might make sense to skip lunch or come into work earlier than normal to catch up. However, these little rest periods are important for preventing burnout.
  • Flexibility: Sustaining resilience at work means employees adapt to changing situations. Clients reject proposals, sometimes meetings get cancelled, projects get placed on hold. By practising flexibility, employees can better handle the unexpected situations that work life can bring.
  • Invest in mental health: Offering education and training in mental health with corporate wellbeing workshops allow employees to gain the skills needed to manage stress and other pressures that arise at work.
  • Support system: Relationships are important in building resilience. Highlight the importance of building positive social relationships at home and work.
  • Practice mindfulness: This plays an important role in boosting resilience. It helps to develop the skills needed to reduce the impacts of adversity in the workplace.


Expert support

Contact Health Assured today for advice and guidance on the best ways to boost resilience within the workplace. Call us on 0844 892 2493

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