Allowing Resilience in the Work Place
It is Mental Health Awareness Week (18th May – 24th May 2020) coupled with the fact we are living in such unprecedented times now but how can we adapt to the abnormal, or as it is now becoming, the new normal?
For most of us this is a 3 or 4 step journey:
Step 1 – we’ve got to work from home, how are we going to do this? This threw up many challenges from physically having the equipment, to issues around childcare, to working in isolation which for a very social species can be detrimental to our metal health.
Step 2 – this is the new normal but it doesn’t feel normal. At this point working from home was a bit of a novelty for many and we were quite energised by this new challenge. We were busy finding ways to make things work. There was a beginning energy and excitement in the early days of this transition phase.
Step 3 – at this point a weariness has crept in, the novelty of working from home has started to wear off for many and juggling home working, home educating, house management etc… has begun to take it’s toll. We are starting to think about how to go to back to how things were, but that is not realistic so we need instead to think about the new way forward.
Step 4 – this will be when we have found the new way forward and are actually doing it.
Resilience has 2 definitions, it is toughness; the ability to recover from a hardship quickly but it is also elasticity; the capacity to spring back into shape. Are we going to try and spring back into the shape we were pre-COVID or are we going to be flexible to changes and come out tougher as a result?
As individuals we often don’t realise we are resilient when we are doing it but only afterwards. People who are tough all the time but never bend aren’t resilient even though that is sometimes viewed as resilience. The idea of being tough and elastic at the same time may seem like a contradiction but trees that don’t bend snap. We have all had to be tough to get through this so far but also incredibly flexible to the massive changes that have taken place. So many of us are doing this even though we don’t realise or are internally berating ourselves for not meeting the demands being put upon us.
Showing vulnerability is not a weakness it is a strength so why are we so adverse to doing it?
Ways we can help ourselves and each other:
- Start a meeting with a check-in of the members to see how everyone is – it only takes one person to say they’re not ok and they’re finding things hard to give others in the meeting permission to do the same. Once this dialogue is open it is a chance to make changes.
- Question working practises. Now is the time we are questioning how we do things because we have to but actually should we have been asking questions anyway for the mental health of our staff?
- Work with colleagues to find solutions but make sure these conversation within an organisation are adult to adult where the decisions are made together and the person feels empowered, not parent to child conversations which are very tempting when we see someone struggling and want to help.
- Leaders need to look after themselves too. How can they look after anyone else if they are already sinking. When you are on a plane and the oxygen masks come down who do you need to put it on first – yourself, otherwise you can’t help anyone else.
- Take time out – spend time with your family, take exercise, get out into nature.
Should you require any further advice or guidance please call us on our usual HR number of: 01325 488425 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org