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How to be Resilient at Work: Tips and Strategies

The public sector continues to endure a long list of challenges.

These challenges place employees in a vital position where they are expected to quickly adapt and adjust to any changes at an unprecedented rate.

This is where resilience at work comes in.

Although almost everyone deals with feelings of stress, it’s how you deal with them and moves forward from setbacks and failures that make the real difference.

In this blog post, we’ll help you see the benefits of resilience in the workplace, both as an employee and employer, and strategies to build your resilience.

Person showing resilience at work with tips and strategies


What is a Resilient Employee?

To be resilient is to have the capacity to withstand or bounce back quickly from any challenges or difficulties that may come your way. Within the workplace, this skill is highly desirable and essential for working well as a team.


Deloitte defines resilient teams as those that “plan for disruption, and can adapt, endure, and rebound quickly in a way that enables them to not only succeed in its aftermath but also to lead the way to a ‘better normal.”


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What Resilience Looks Like: Examples of Resilience at Work

1.     COVID Response

There is no better example of workplace resilience than the way the frontline healthcare workers dealt with the impact of the pandemic. Substantial staff shortages, sustained underinvestment, scarce supplies, and growing capacity constraints are just a few of the major challenges and conditions that healthcare employees had to work through.

Perseverance and commitment to their role, as well as composure and management of negative emotions, are just a few examples of how healthcare workers showed resilience during these strenuous times.

2.     Focus on What You Can Control

Many things that happen are simply out of our control, and it is important not to blame yourself or feel responsible for these uncontrollable events. However, focusing on what you can control is a great example of resilient behaviour.

For example, getting stuck in traffic is an uncontrollable inconvenience, but allowing it to ruin your morale is not productive. Instead, you could turn on the radio and think of ideas for your next project or go over an upcoming presentation in your head.

3.     Viewing Criticism as an Opportunity for Growth

Receiving negative feedback from a project can be disheartening and sometimes discouraging, it can impact your self-esteem and views on your capabilities if you take it at face value. A resilient employee would perhaps use constructive criticism as a guide on how to improve the work instead.

4.     Embracing Change

Responsibilities at work may change from time to time, this could be due to receiving a promotion which increases your scope of work. Embracing your new responsibilities is a good opportunity to learn new skills that will help advance your career.

Tips and Strategies for Building Your Resilience 

Resilience is something that comes more naturally to some than others, however, it is a skill that can be learnt and incorporated into your organisation. The Well-Being Project has developed a model called ‘The 5 Pillars of Resilience’ that focuses on how to be resilient at work.


the five pillars of resilience in the workplace - tips and strategies


1.     Energy

Good energy levels are at the core of resilience. Prioritising your mental and physical health is the most important step for building resilience as it ensures that you are in a good mindset for tackling challenges.


Stress is a major result of working under high-pressure environments, it can create considerable challenges when it comes to mental well-being and productivity. However, resilience is the skill of knowing how to manage your response to stressful situations to maintain control, well-being and productivity.


2.     Future Focus

Having a clear vision or step-by-step action plan in place for goals you want to achieve is essential for feeling resilient. Even when the unexpected scuppers your original plans, you can reevaluate and take a new direction.


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3.     Inner Drive

The inner drive is about confidence, self-belief, and motivation. Feeling optimistic and self-assured about your own plans and strategies will not only motivate you to work through challenging times, but will also help encourage and inspire your team to do the same.


4.     Flexible Thinking

Having a tunnel vision when it comes to strategy and planning is a limited view which can ultimately hold you back. You must be open and adaptable to new ideas and change to succeed.


5.     Strong Relationships

Resilient people have great relationships with others and are not too proud to ask for help or share their problems. They are an open and trustworthy employee who works well in a team.


Top 4 Benefits of Building Resilience for the Employee and the Organisation 

A study carried out by CV-Library, which surveyed 300 UK employers, revealed that 57.5% of employers listed resilience as a key skill for a potential hire. 71.5% listed the ability to adapt as the most important skill, which is a key element of resilience.


It is evident that resilience is a key skill for an employee to possess, but what exactly are the benefits in the workplace?


1.     Improves Mental Health

Building resilience within your teams has been closely linked to improving employee well-being and mental health. Incorporating a proactive outlook into your teams should vastly reduce stress and pressure, improving job satisfaction and productivity, and significantly Improving Mental Health overall.


It is also proven to reduce absences, sickness, and lateness, as stress is a large contributor to anxiety and depression, which is a major cause of workplace absences.

You might be interested in our ‘Managing Stress in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers’ Blog

2.     Better teamwork

Resilience allows employees to learn how to handle different personalities and opinions to work and communicate effectively on team projects. As a result, conflict within the team is significantly lessened, and any problems are worked around to maintain a healthy working relationship and collaborative team.

3.     Overcoming Challenges

Building resilience is positive for both the employee and the organisation as challenges are effectively overcome and dealt with. Resilient teams are optimistic and view dilemmas as a challenge rather than an impossible or immobilising events. It is about using the knowledge, skills, and abilities you already possess to conjure up solutions and alternative methods of approaching certain challenges to keep moving forward.


4.     Organisation and Employee Performance

Resilient employees organise their workloads realistically and work effectively towards project deadlines. As a result, deadlines won’t be missed, and projects will be planned and managed more constructively.

Resilience in the Workplace Question and Answers

1. How to use resilience to bounce back from setbacks?

  • Having the confidence to know who to reach out to people in your organisation or network for advice 
  • Have an open mind to new suggestions and ideas to solve problems in a way you may not have thought of
  • Using a positive frame of mind. After all, your view of the world is often impacted by your mental health
  • Don't dwell on failures. It's easy to get caught up in what didn't work, but aim to use resilience to see the opportunities at play 

2. Why is resilience important in the workplace?

No matter what role you're in, you'll most likely face some type of setback or issue that you need to move past at some point. Having resilience means you can see these setbacks or issues in a positive way and approach them in the best mindset. 

Taking the time to help employees build their resilience has been said to improve employee well-being - therefore, increasing productivity and team morale. 

3. What four key factors contribute to a person's resilience?

  1. How a person views and interacts with the wider world 
  2. Problem-solving skills 
  3. Communication ability 
  4. Emotional regulation

4. How to build resilience in your team in the workplace

  • Ensure employees know the purpose of tasks and the wider goal to give them a sense of purpose
  • Create a culture of support. If your employees know they are supported in the workplace, not just by senior managers but everyone, they are more likely to be open about their thoughts and ideas
  • Communicate often and with purpose
  • Nurture employee strengths
Kathryn Williams
Marketing Assistant
1+ years experience in marketing to the public sector. Passionate about bringing the latest expert-led courses to the forefront for public sector professionals looking to develop their skills.