How to Build Resiliency at Work

Jake Newby

| 3 min read

Stress in the workplace is unavoidable and no industry is stress-free. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of workers in the United States suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives. 
How we handle stress at work is largely based on how resilient we are. Resilience is the ability to recover from a hardship or challenge and find value in it as a learning opportunity. When stress is high, we need to be resilient to combat it. Resiliency in the workplace correlates with team and individual success. It helps us learn from our mistakes, rebound, and produce good work in the face of challenges. Resiliency in the workplace can:
  • Boost engagement
  • Create new leaders
  • Force us to adapt 
  • Increase productivity
  • Lead to greater job satisfaction

Examples of resiliency at work

Let’s start with an example of a hypothetical employee demonstrating resilience at work. Say you are salesperson making cold calls. You are normally successful, making about 8 to 12 sales per day. But in the first three days of a new week, you have 10 total sales. Then, on Thursday, you get shutout and make zero sales. Showing resiliency should start at the end of that workday. Can you handle disappointment skillfully? Can you avoid getting too down on yourself? Remind yourself that you’ve found success before, and you’ll find it again. And on Friday, come in with a strong attitude and positive outlook. Don’t let your confidence waver.
A broader example of being resilient at work is how you respond to change. If you are someone who has been used to a certain workflow for months or even years, there may come a day when your duties evolve. More is added to your plate, or you must learn new skills and apply them on the go. Change can be scary, but when faced with it, how will you react? Will you show good time management skills that allow you to adjust to new tasks while still completing old ones? Creating a daily planner can help. So can asking questions and expressing thoughts to your co-workers. Face change with a positive, can-do attitude. Resilience shapes the way employees respond to and manage the stress of change.

Tips to build resilience at work 

Be proactive: Instead of letting little leaks break the proverbial dam, face budding issues head-on. Get ahead on intimidating tasks. Communicate with colleagues so tasks become less intimidating. And when you do encounter a setback, keep on moving ahead. Try and remember that worry and anxiety rarely lead to resolutions. Instead, take action, and be confident in your ability to problem solve.
Build trust with your manager and colleagues: In team settings, the challenges you face are often shared. Regular one-on-one or team meetings can help you develop a better rapport with your colleagues, so that when issues arise, you can tackle them together.
Develop good habits: Disconnecting from work when you’re done for the day can help you feel refreshed and more positive at work. Focus on getting good sleep and carve out time for self-care.
Reflect on challenges: When you’re thrown a curveball at work and you manage to knock it out of the park, take the time to reflect on how you were successful. Journal the situation, including its most stressful components and the decisions you made that helped you conquer them. 
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