Last reviewed 29 April 2021

What is resilience and how can it improve your workplace?

The workplace will always have challenges. There will be trying times and knock-backs. The issue is whether employees and managers can bounce back and learn from them so the business can succeed.

Workplace pressure will cause stress. Being stressed at work is often a natural part of working life but problems arise when employees are highly stressed and unable to cope with it.

This is why encouraging resilience is an important aspect of any workplace.

If your workers are resilient, they will bounce back from any setbacks, often stronger than before. Poor resilience, on the other hand, leads to the same problems popping up repeatedly.

So what is resilience and what is needed to improve it in the workplace?

What is resilience in the workplace?

The ability to respond to pressure, deal with adversity, and overcome challenges — this is resilience at work. Resilience is an important attribute and one which can be learned and improved upon.

Everyone, throughout their life, will encounter situations which cause stress, anxiety and even depression. Different individuals have different capacity for stress but those who can weather these situations, coping with them, have strong emotional resilience. And this is a positive in the workplace.

People with strong emotional resilience have the ability to not only “bounce back” from setbacks, such as suffering a bereavement, serious illness or being made redundant, but also have the ability to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, while maintaining stable mental wellbeing.

Those who struggle with resilience may dwell on problems, become easily overwhelmed or rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or excessive eating. And, of course, it is difficult to be effective when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Emotional resilience in the workplace is about taking stock of the things that need to be done, and figuring out the best ways to deal with them in as stress-free a manner as possible — while knowing your limits, and those of the people you work with.

Resilience examples

What are some examples of resilience at work? Dealing with a complaint, bouncing back from a presentation that was poorly received or sorting out machinery breakdown with stoicism and grit are some instances.

Other examples would include the following.

  • A manager loses two key staff in a week. They manage to arrange the advertising of the vacancies and recruiting process while staying on top of their existing workload.

  • Someone loses out on a big contract — and uses what they learned in the process to create a better tender next time.

These are examples of resilience at work from two sides of the coin. Resilience is about capability and capacity for learning.

The benefits of resilience

It is the employer’s responsibility to look after the wellbeing of employees at work. An overly stressful or negative work environment will result in losing employees and decreased productivity.

Building resilience in the workplace will help employees manage stress, maintain a positive work-life balance, and be able to cope with any mental health challenges. The outcome will be a happier, healthier, engaged and more productive workforce.

How to build resilience

Building resilience at work doesn’t have to be difficult.

Key is to embrace change — or if you can’t embrace it, at least to accept change. Change is an essential tool in developing resilience. Being flexible and adapting as circumstances change helps people to become better equipped to respond to crises.

The following elements can also improve resilience.

  • Social networking — sharing problems with your support network won’t fix anything immediately but it does allow you to share your feelings, get support, receive positive feedback and discuss possible solutions to the issue.

  • Look after yourself — eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, ensuring you have plenty of sleep will help you develop a resilient mindset. If you want to try something new, yoga, meditation and deep breathing are all associated with developing mental resilience.

  • Think short term — resilient people have the ability to reassure themselves that stressful situations do not last forever and that the associated negative feelings will eventually dissipate. This will help you view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem.

  • Ask for help — many believe that being resilient is to be mentally strong enough to take on challenges alone. But, in fact, the ability to know when to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient.

Resilience training from Health Assured

You don’t need to figure out how to become more resilient on your own.

If you or your teams seem to need help with resilience, Health Assured offer a great training course, The Road to Resilience, in which teams and managers learn, in a remote setting, exactly how to manage pressure and expectation, recognise weaknesses and build upon strength. By the end of the course, employees will be stronger, wiser and much more resilient.

Book a free consultation with one of our wellbeing consultants by calling 0844 891 0353.