The topic of resilience at work is one which in recent years has received a lot of air time. Alarming figures demonstrate that workplace stress continues to rise, bringing with it a myriad of problems for businesses and individuals. Absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace are costing the global economy billions of dollars each year, while employees are presented with the long-term health risk associated with stress and burnout.
It is perhaps not surprising that resilience training is becoming increasingly popular as an aspect of employee development. According to Organisational Psychologist Yseult Freeney, the business rational for investing in resilience training is to empower employees to over come work stress, to persevere in the face of adversity and have bounce back ability. Undoubtably there are benefits to resilience training, however conflicting opinions question the authenticity of this “benefit”. One argument posits that companies investing in resilience training are merely masking the underlying issues of work intensification. This being the case, resilience training is not a long-term solution.
Tackling workplace stress needs to start with the root cause: how we work. A major contributing factor to burn-out is the perception that long working days equal productive working days. This mentality fuels the growing issue of presenteeism. Employees feel obliged to be present out of fear they will fall behind, or they might miss out on promotion opportunities if they don’t work late as their colleagues do. Add into the mix working weekends and the late-night emails, and burn-out is inevitable not matter how resilient the person.
Without doubt, companies should continue to offer a mix of wellbeing supports including resilience training, but for those organisations which promote and praise long days, a shift in culture is required. Research demonstrating that even in an 8-hour day, people have just a few productive hours. Furthermore, a recent trial of a 4-day week by a New Zealand company demonstrated that with improved processes employees could perform more efficiently in a shorter week, with decreased stress and increased work-life satisfaction. Hence a change in mentality will result in a more productive and happier workforce.
Getting work-life balance right is an imperative for employer branding. Exploring efficiencies and processes which might alleviate the intensity of work will contribute to reducing employee stress. Email policies too should be reviewed ensuring out of hours communication from managers is limited (if not completely eradicated). Most importantly, key influencers should drive the shift in attitude by demonstrating healthy work-life balance themselves.
Author: Sara Glynn – Marketing & Customer Success Manager @ Wrkit.
Wrkit specialise in the creation of better, healthier working environments. Our platform connects global, remote and local teams through five modules; Surveys, Recognition, POWR, Learning and Savings. Speak to an Engagement Specialist today – firstname.lastname@example.org