Work & Wellbeing

Making your business resilient and your workforce reassured and focused

6 min read

01 May 2018

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 500,000 workers a year suffer a new case of ill health which they believe is caused or made worse by their work, costing employers £2.8 billion annually.

Therefore, it pays as a manager to do what you can to ensure you and your colleagues are kept mentally and physically well. This is especially true in a SME, where absence can hinder business productivity, lower team morale and put additional pressure and stress on you and your staff.

Good preparation will ensure you and your team are readied for the challenges and setbacks that are part and parcel of working life. However, resilience isn’t about acting tough or pretending everything’s fine when it’s not. Rather, it’s about having the resolve and inner strength to size up a difficult situation, decide what’s needed and take decisive action to deal with it.

You can increase your own resilience by introducing some subtle changes, outlined below, to the way that you think, feel and behave.

Build and engage with your support network

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Good relationships with colleagues, friends and family are important for workplace and social psychological wellbeing, so don’t be afraid to accept help and support from those who know and care about you.

Think about connecting with like-minded others through, for example, trade and professional associations and social media groups. And try to ensure that the people you manage have access to suitable support they can draw on when they need to.

Embrace change

People who embrace change don’t waste energy trying to maintain the status quo when change is inevitable. Change is a constant companion so embrace it and try to be positive about looking towards what may well be a better future.

Set achievable goals

Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks and then take action to tackle them. Completion can bring its own reward in the sense of satisfaction that comes from being in control and having accomplished the task. Lead by example and encourage those whom you manage to do likewise in the way that they work.

Grow

Dealing with challenges can be a spur to acquiring and using new skills. Make the most of them. In addition, knowing that you’ve performed well under pressure can boost morale and build confidence – and leave you in better placed to deal with future challenges.

Finding the right blend

Achieving an acceptable blend or balance between the competing demands of home and work – and supporting your team to do the same – isn’t easy. This is especially true in a small team, where you may find yourself picking up the workload to accommodate for absent employees.

Work-life blend means different things to different people. As everyone’s different, an important first step to building a better blend of work and home commitments is to take stock of, and identify, your personal needs and priorities. You can’t do it all so try to concentrate on ensuring you prioritise the things that matter most in your home and working life.

It’s your party

Bringing a better focus to your priorities and the way that you live your life can go a long way to enabling you – and those whom you manage – to acquire an inner strength and conviction that will both enable you to flourish and, in the face of adversity, rise to the occasion to overcome it.

Not so common sense

Here are some dos and don’ts you can use to help to build a better work-life blend:

  1. Focus on critical tasks;
  2. Make a plan and stick to it;
  3. Don’t over-commit – learn to say “No”;
  4. Don’t be a perfectionist;
  5. When you identify problems, remember it’s okay to ask for help;
  6. Delegate where possible – can you lighten the load by involving others?
  7. Don’t fear failure – it’s an opportunity to learn, grow and inspire others;
  8. Don’t take work home unless you really need to;
  9. Alive and active – eat, sleep and live life well; and
  10. Take and enjoy your time off – you’ve earned it.

Following the points above, while encouraging and supporting your team to do likewise, will go a long way to building a stronger business. If you are well prepared for setbacks (practically speaking and mentally) and if you think positively and act strategically in the face of adversity, your business will remain resilient and your workforce reassured and focused.

Dr Mark Winwood is director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare