Remember when we were alone, together?
We would sit at home, isolated, as the news flashed images of children holding up heartwarming signs to elderly neighbors and musical phenoms treated balconies filled with families to nightly concerts. Then, like clockwork, we would all go outside at 7PM each night to cheer on our frontline healthcare workers.
Now we are all back together, together.
Life has returned to normal levels of pre-pandemic chaos, almost as if it never happened. But the problem is that, while we quickly resumed our original levels of busyness, the trauma of what we endured is real and the effects of COVID-19 are ongoing.
We cannot ignore the impact living and working through a global pandemic has had on us. In the workplace especially, it is critical to unearth inner reserves of resilience while navigating how to resume our busy lives after the inconceivable pause we all endured.
As a leader, it is crucial to help your team reinvigorate the resilience that was sparked during the pandemic by engaging a resilience speaker and implementing the stress resilience strategies I’ve shared below.
Why Resilience in the Workplace is Essential to Coping Post-Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic affected our entire world, and the workplace is no exception. Employees had to swiftly adapt to entirely new ways of working, and many businesses didn’t survive the shelter-in-place, ultimately closing their doors forever.
COVID-19 created unprecedented, but not insurmountable, challenges.
For organizations that strive to not only survive but thrive in a post-pandemic environment, building resilience in the workplace is key. As a leader, it is vital that you recognize the importance of creating resilience during (and after) the pandemic and provide resources that will help employees manage stress at work by fostering stress resilience.
By helping your employees build resilience in the workplace, you are preparing them for any obstacles that lie ahead as you lead your organization into a future of growth and success, despite the effects of COVID-19.
How to Enhance the Resilience Created During the Pandemic to Help Employees Cope with Post-Covid Stressors
During the pandemic, we had no choice but to discover ways to cope and learn how to build the mental resilience necessary to adapt to an incredibly altered way of living and working. Now that we have settled into a post-COVID world, it’s crucial to not become lax and lose the resilience we built during the pandemic.
We now have the capacity to be proactive and thoughtful in our approach to stress management in the workplace, and it begins with following the real-life tips outlined below.
Maintain Physical Health
During the pandemic and beyond, building resilience at work (and in life) starts with maintaining physical health. You can improve yours by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and ensuring that you get plenty of sleep. Taking care of your physical health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and is a great way to incorporate daily practices that build resilience into your life.
Nurture Mental Health
Learning how to build mental resilience by taking care of your mental health is more critical than ever in the stressful post-pandemic world we are living in. You can nurture yours by taking time out for yourself, practicing self-care and maintaining healthy relationships with yourself and the people in your life.
A simple but effective way to do this is by practicing positive affirmations. When you repeat positive affirmations, it ultimately changes how you think and feel about yourself. This leads to improved resilience and confidence, which serves to create lasting and positive changes in your overall mental health.
One important aspect of improving your mental health is seeking out activities that bring you joy and making time for them every day. It is also beneficial to stay connected to friends and family and ask them to be your support system when you’re feeling blue or facing challenges.
Learn to Manage Stress
Stress, like change, is inevitable. During the pandemic, it was increasingly prevalent in our home and work lives, but somehow we endured. And in a post-pandemic environment, learning how to manage stress at work will help mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 and improve your overall well-being.
There are many stress management techniques you can deploy in your everyday life to build resilience at work, such as incorporating exercise into your routine, implementing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing, journaling your thoughts or immersing yourself in nature.
It’s important, and fun, to experiment with different ideas in order to learn what works best for you. In addition to adding techniques that will build resilience in the workplace, it’s also beneficial to ask for help if you’re struggling to cope with stress. You can seek support from family and friends or consider speaking with a therapist.
Bringing in a mental health keynote speaker to speak to your employees is also key. This shows that, as the leader, you understand the importance of nurturing mental health and building resilience during, and after, the pandemic. By managing your own stress, you are effectively creating a safe space for your team and showing them that you are all in this together.
Adopt a Hybrid Workforce Culture
There was one wonderful outcome of COVID-19, and that was the new approach to hybrid or remote work. Through trial and error, we learned that many tasks could be completed just as efficiently from home and that being flexible is key to stress management in the workplace, whether in-person or virtual.
Many organizations are bringing out the best in their employees and building growth for their businesses by adopting a hybrid workforce model. This extraordinarily effective workplace culture combines full-time, part-time and contract employees in a matrix of working from the office, home or anywhere in the world. Mixing up the workforce has created a more diverse and inclusive culture that enables employees and businesses the freedom to adapt to constant change in the way that works best for them.
Employees feel valued in a hybrid workplace because they have the flexibility to incorporate their personal and work lives in a more balanced way, which leads to less stress and greater productivity. Ultimately, a hybrid workplace can help build resilience, create growth for your business and nurture the overall well-being of your employees.
Work on Your Trauma
Trauma is a terrifying word typically reserved for extreme circumstances, and COVID-19 was certainly one of the most extreme situations many of us have encountered. We found ourselves enduring unthinkable loss, whether it was our loved ones, our incomes, our homes or simply any semblance of normalcy. Now, emerging out of the darkness into the dazzling light of a new normal, it’s hard to envision our path. The first step is to recognize our trauma and work on building resilience in order to move forward in a positive way.
As the leader, you can support your team by creating a trauma-informed workplace.
Establishing this type of workplace means being aware of the trauma your employees carry and implementing ways to ensure their working environment feels supportive and safe. Your efforts in this area will help your team heal from their trauma and build resilience for the future.
Take Things Slowly
They say slow and steady wins the race, and in a race against unfathomable stress, there is never a better time than now to be thoughtful about how you move forward. Prioritizing rest and recovery is critical, as we grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.
For leaders, that means revisiting your policies related to employee PTO benefits to ensure that your team has the tools they need to properly care for themselves and their families. It also means modeling a healthy work-life balance. Employees need time to recharge and recover, but many are hesitant to take time away from work, in fear of being seen as lazy or taking advantage of their employer’s generosity. But the truth is that recovery is essential for your employees’ resilience, and when you show that you understand the importance of resilience during the pandemic and beyond, they will follow your lead.
When employees take advantage of PTO benefits, they are more likely to be productive and engaged at work. Especially during challenging times, allowing time to recover is a valuable tool for managing anxiety and cultivating well-being.
When you show how important focusing on high-quality recovery time is when faced with uncertainty, it will have a profound impact on the anxiety and stress levels of your team.
Have Hope, Love Life
Human beings flourish when they have hope. When you believe that your situation will improve during tough times, it ultimately will. Having faith in ourselves, and the world around us, is what sustained us and helped us build resilience during the pandemic. If we can navigate a situation as traumatic as that, and come out the other side stronger and more resilient, then we know we can face anything life throws at us.
It’s easier to find hope when things are going well than during uncertain times. When aspects of your life are beyond your control, focus on taking a moment to love your life as it is, appreciate what you already have and find value in the person you are.
These steps will organically build hope and lead to positive outcomes.
Show Your Team the Importance of Resilience During the Pandemic and How to Build Resilience at Work Today
Show your employees that they are no longer alone, together.
Let your team see that they are all working toward the same goal, with a leader who cares and has their back by hiring a resilience speaker to guide you through the uncertainty and into the new normal.
By being the captain your employees need during turbulent times, you and your team will be able to navigate through the stormy seas until you reach the calm waters ahead.