How Challenges Can Help Build Resilience in the Workplace

We often think of stress as a bad thing, but certain stressors actually encourage personal growth. Just the right amount and kind of challenge can put someone in a flow state, an ideal place to be while getting things done. But stressors that hinder—like being overwhelmed with work or unable to make ends meet—can bring down the productivity and morale of the entire workplace.

That’s precisely why building resilience in the workplace is so important. Not every stressor can be avoided. Being able to manage how you respond to stress, however, can be the difference between bouncing back from a struggle or letting it bury you.

What Are the Advantages of Building Resilience in the Workplace?

Building resilience in the workplace was once an afterthought in business but is rapidly becoming priority number one. What sparked this shift?

Resilience in the Workplace Saves Money

Though it may not be the first thing you think of, resilient workers cost you less. Workers who aren’t stressed are more productive, generating more revenue. They also have stronger immune systems, requiring fewer doctor visits and days off. The cost of replacing workers or covering lost productivity can amount to up to 75 percent of a worker’s annual salary.

Resilient Workers Are More Engaged and Satisfied at Work

Employees who are mindful and resilient tend to be more satisfied in their roles. When employees feel secure at work, they engage more, participating in meetings and solving problems more creatively. Resilient workers are also better collaborators.

Resilient Workers—and Businesses—Are More Adaptable During Hard Times

Stormy weather can happen at any time but only resilient businesses will have the flexibility to adapt and survive difficult times. Resilient managers will take oncoming problems in stride. Resilient employees will trust that better days are ahead as long as they work together.

What Does Resilience in the Workplace Look Like?

Resilient people exhibit these three qualities:

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is the ability to exert control or influence over your emotional state. People who regulate their emotions in a healthy way are able to calm themselves when frustrated or anxious. They’re also capable of reframing distorted or unhelpful thoughts into something more realistic.

Self-compassion

Self-compassion is the act of treating yourself with warmth and empathy, even when you feel inadequate or self-hating. Dr. Kristin Neff, professor of educational psychology and author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, says that self-compassion comprises three key qualities: Self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and mindfulness.

Cognitive Agility

Cognitive agility is the capacity to adapt and change one’s thinking based on new and changing circumstances. People who are cognitively agile are natural problem-solvers who don’t get overwhelmed by challenges or obstacles. 

How Can Leaders Build Resilience in the Workplace?

Building resilience in the workplace can look different for different organizations. But here are three great ways to start building a more resilient company:

Get Back to Basics: Food, Water, Sleep

And when we say “the basics,” we mean it. Are your employees getting enough sleep? Are they staying hydrated and eating well? Any sort of mindset shift is going to be so much harder if you’re not in a comfortable physical state. Taking care of your body makes taking care of your mind easier. There’s a reason the first Fabulous Journey is about building these habits.

Encourage Practicing Restorative Habits

What people define as “restorative” can vary. Some people relax by painting while others go rock climbing. What matters most is making sure employees are free and safe to disconnect from the work environment to do things that fulfill them in other ways.

Reframe Obstacles as Challenges

When things get difficult, modeling resilient behavior can be a powerful teaching tool. Reframing setbacks as problems they need to solve can put concerned employees at ease, making it easier to work through more troubling times.

How are you building resilience in the workplace?