Rising resilience: how to create a resilient working culture

In a time of constant change, resilience has never been a more critical characteristic for the workforce and workplace. A report by Nespresso highlights how individuals, teams and environments can remain resilient during times of flux

Resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’ from a setback. It’s a valuable characteristic in today’s ever-changing world of work, and it can have a positive impact on wellbeing, stress levels, and can help drive better professional performance and productivity.

A recent report by Nespresso, ‘How to create a resilient working culture – and improve your own resilience’, highlight five key elements of resilience. These are: energy, future focus, inner drive, flexible thinking and strong relationships. The report outlines useful tips to help build and strengthen resilience in this time of constant flux in the workplace and includes a quiz to determine how resilient you are.

Addressing mental health

Resilience is not just about being able to bounce back from physical challenges, it’s about having mental strength too. From stress and depression to anxiety and panic attacks, there is a multitude of life events that can impact our mental health, and it’s important to have the resilience to help overcome them.

On a professional level, mental health issues can hugely affect our ability to work and keep a business operating. When mental health challenges arise, it can be difficult to concentrate, harder to deal with time pressures, and interactions with others can become a struggle.

It’s also worth noting that, despite its growing popularity, remote working is also known to impact workers’ mental health. Many remote employees have trouble switching off and struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness – making them candidates for burnout. In response, the Nespresso report offers five helpful tips:

Tip 1: Believe in yourself – Create a list of your strengths and accomplishments. Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Writing down at least one achievement each day, either personal or professional, can be a reminder of all personal accomplishments over a period of time.

Tip 2: Embrace change – According to Harvard Business School, dealing with change can be better managed by separating feelings from the problem at hand, and instead seek practical advice on what to do next. When feelings of stress arise, it is important to understand why this is; not all feelings of stress are negative if used in a positive way.

Tip 3: Build relationships – Find time each day to connect with a loved one, as strong ties to family, friends and co-workers can provide the social and emotional support necessary to bounce back from setbacks or disappointments.

Tip 4: Practice mindfulness – When feelings aren’t managed, they can cloud judgment. Practicing mindfulness helps develop the inner resources required to help navigate through difficult, trying and stressful situations with more ease. Start with the one-minute meditation. Find a quiet place and focus your attention on your breath. If your mind wanders (as it probably will), bring your concentration back to your breath.

Tip 5: Sleep is important – Sleep is attributed to lower stress levels and improved job performance, according to research. Keeping regular sleeping hours can be managed by unwinding before bed, whether that’s relaxation exercises, reading a book or avoiding electronic devices an hour before sleep.

Creating resilient teams at work

Just like personal resilience, team resilience is the capacity of a group of people to respond to change and disruption in a flexible and innovative manner. Team leaders should be asking questions such as: Are sick levels high among employees? Are there increased levels of conflict? Are employees proactive to future planning? Is morale and productivity low?

If the answer is negative, then it may be time to start engaging more closely with the team and working on improvements. Team resilience is so essential to businesses that there’s actually a methodology that can help team leaders improve capabilities. The system is called the ‘7 C’s’ which refers to: culture, competence, connections, commitment, communication, coordination and consideration.

Creating a workplace that drives resilience

While personal and team resilience is critical to business success, the work environment also plays a significant role. Although the workspace may not play a direct role in improving resilience, it can have an important impact on happiness, as 95 per cent of office workers consider the quality of their workspace to be important for their mental health. The Nespresso report outline three ways in which work environments can encourage happiness and empowerment within employees.

Slo-Working – Given the propensity for today’s workforce to burnout, working techniques are being developed which will become commonplace in future offices. One of these is the process of slo-working. This is an approach which encourages employees to decelerate their working pace and take time to pause and socialise with colleagues. In the home setting, this includes finding time for virtual lunch and coffee breaks with colleagues.

Biophilic workspaces – Research has found that the introduction of natural elements in the workplace has led to a decrease in employees’ levels of mental fatigue. Vibrant colours, plant life, natural light, and materials like wood and stone can be included in the workspace to boost employee morale.

Virtual meet-ups – Although they may only enter the workspace infrequently, mobile workers need consideration too. Start by implementing regular conference calls and catch-ups to keep them ‘in the loop’. Ensure they are included in planning meetings and discussions (especially creative tasks). And importantly, regularly reiterate how important it is for them to take breaks and use the slo-working techniques.

Nespresso is a Corporate Member of the Academy. View the full resilient working culture report here.
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