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What is resilience in the workplace?

25 January 2022

Resilience is the ability to recover after something difficult has happened. In today's fast paced world, workplace resilience is essential to cope with the vast amount of change, flexibility and productivity required for corporate success. 

We are going to look at the whys behind resilience in the workplace. Why is working on your resilience worthwhile? And what outputs can you expect from your hard work?
The global pandemic reinforced that change is inevitable. Although it has been some years since a change of that magnitude has been experienced by the world as a whole, economic and industrial pressures have required many businesses to flex on a regular basis. Without resilience change may leave you feeling like you have lost control or an element of your autonomy at work. As you become more resilient, change becomes more manageable, leaving you in a stronger position to help others who may be struggling.  
Deadlines, lack of communication or conflicts with others are just some of the causes of stress in the workplace. The UK’s Workplace Stress Survey in 2020  found 79% of employees regularly experienced workplace stress, an increase of 20% on 2018. If stress is not managed well it can lead to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, burnout or substance abuse. Although resilience will not eradicate stress from working life, it enables you to manage it in a healthier way. 
Unfortunately, we do not have control over much of what impacts us in life both personally and professionally. What we do have control over is how we react to adversity inside and outside of work. Building a positive mindset and seeing change in whatever form it takes in an optimistic way is an important part of resilience. 
Improved resilience at work can help you to foster better working relationships with colleagues and to take things less personally.  
Part of building resilience is the ability to set and achieve professional goals. This will ensure you are focused on the right things to further your career. By extension, working to a goal enables better expectation setting with management and colleagues because you have a clearer understanding of what you want to achieve.

Similarly, the more resilient you are the better organised you are likely to be for a number of reasons:

  • Being goal focused makes it easier to set priorities
  • Improved relationships make teamwork easier
  • Coping well with the negative side effects of stress enables higher levels of productivity

Which improves overall organisation.

Developing a growth mindset as part of resilience practice makes it easier to give and receive feedback in a non-threatening way. As you become more resilient you are likely to see the value in reaching out to others as well as helping them if they are in difficulty. This can help you resolve issues before they have an impact on your work. 

Even more workplace resilience is required if you are considering an international assignment to further your career. Moving to a new country, starting a new role and navigating a different culture are just some of the challenges you may face, so having the ability to bounce back from adversity as an expat  is even more important.  


As you can see, working on your resilience is well worth the investment. It is likely to improve all of the key contributors to a successful working life from stress management to providing support to others.