Nurturing Resilience in the Workplace

The World Health Organization has identified stress as the “health epidemic of the twenty-first century”, estimating that over 17 million work days are lost annually due to stress, anxiety, and depression. Having a resilient workforce can help mitigate this risk, making the workplace the ideal environment for employees to learn about and grow their resiliency.

Some people cope with stressful situations more easily than others, and resilience is the key. Yet resiliency is not something we are born with; it is a learned ability which human beings use to manage and balance everyday stressors. A resilient workforce will flourish and not crumble and fall apart under the pressure.

How can employers help?

A higher level of resiliency is a function of an employee’s overall health, which includes physical, mental, as well as financial well-being.  

  • Employers can have an impact on employee food choices by providing healthy options in cafeterias and vending machines.
  • Facilitate physical fitness with in-house yoga classes, walking tracks, or fitness challenges to encourage employees to get moving.
  • Getting enough sleep is important—seven to eight hours every night is optimal, but rarely achieved. Encourage employees to unplug in the evenings—work communications can wait until the next day when they are back in the office.
  • Most people have higher energy levels in the morning. A newer concept is energy management; it’s based on prioritizing tasks to match daily energy levels. Maximize productivity during higher energy level times by scheduling more complex tasks in the morning and leaving menial tasks for the afternoon.
  • Help support employees in maintaining a positive work environment, simple things like encouraging them to look forward to their vacation time rather than worrying about who will complete the duties while they are away.
  • It’s also imperative that employees take regular breaks. Enforce regular break times and lead by example.
  • Mental health and resilience at work go hand in hand. Provide EAP services and communicate mental health awareness.
  • For physical health, create a safe and positive work environment, free of bullying and workplace hazards. Navigating around these negative influences in the workplace can put significant stain on employees.
  • Hire and train responsive managers who empower employees to make decisions that impact their work environment in a positive way.

As an employer, you can create a common goal and make sure everyone is motivated to take responsibility for what they can control. Being actively involved by promoting the overall health of your employees can go a long way towards boosting the resiliency of your workforce—and your bottom line!