Building a Culture of Resilience in the Workplace

Workplaces have not been spared from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With orders to shelter in place and closed down offices, organisations and businesses have scrambled to move their workforce online. According to a study conducted by cloud service provider Navisite, one-third of these companies were not prepared for the shift to telecommuting. Additionally, around half of the companies surveyed reported IT-related problems during their transition and 29% are still struggling with tech-related issues to this day. Although nobody could have predicted a pandemic that would ultimately upend work, these numbers are indicative that organisations are not as resilient as they might think.


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What resilience in the workplace means

The pandemic underscored the need to create more resilient workplaces. One dictionary definition of the word is toughness, as in being strong enough to survive adverse situations. But resilience is more than the ability to weather storms. A better dictionary definition to it is elasticity, or the ability to bounce back to normal after undergoing some pressure.

When people are faced with stress they have three common reactions says resilience coach L. Barbour in an interview with Marcus. The reactions are to fight or use self-criticism or blame; flight or react by withdrawal or self-isolation; or to freeze or to dwell on past mistakes. This can be seen on a bigger scale too, not just on the individual level. Businesses might end up pointing fingers at their IT staff to explain why they aren’t ready for remote work, avoid making firm organisational decisions, or focus on missteps instead of looking ahead. But when a workplace has a culture of resilience, it has a greater capacity to adapt to unfamiliar and unpredictable situations, like a global pandemic. A resilient culture means the organisation and its individual components share the ability to recover and thrive amidst challenging circumstances.

How to build a culture of resilience

Use the organisational vision and mission as guide
Resilient organisations are those that can make the right decisions at the right time. The reason many fail at this part is that they don’t have clear goals and values to begin with. But if you can use your goals and values as a guide, you can quickly respond to any curveballs that come your way. This can even elicit trust from your employees knowing that leaders have a plan to keep the company strong amidst hard times. And when your purpose is clearly communicated, Forbes notes that the members will feel more connected and are more motivated to rally behind you.

Evaluate strengths and weaknesses
Knowing what the company excels in and being honest about what it lacks is an important step to building resilience. Obviously, you’ll know what to work on to create a stronger, more adaptable workplace. Aside from deploying organisational-wide changes, such as remote work technology, focus on developing the skills of your employees too.

Resolve conflicts

Zapier points out that conflict management is difficult when done remotely. Statements sound more serious when written down and with the absence of body language, eye contact, and expressions. However, it’s crucial to resolve conflict if you want to foster respect and a sense of belongingness among your teams. Conflict resolution or management is about creating two-way interactions between two opposing sides so it becomes more constructive. It’s also about helping them arrive at an agreement on difficult subjects. It goes without saying that the absence of conflict is good for morale. Additionally, it creates a safe space for individuals — they feel safer in expressing their ideas without fear as they know that their opinions are valid.

Keep support networks strong
Lastly, keeping support networks strong especially at a time like this is non-negotiable. The company has to make a lot of adjustments in these times, but so do the employees. Being supportive can mean providing the company with necessary resources. Instead of letting your employees purchase their own remote work tools, create a budget to fund them. This way, employees don’t feel neglected by their own company during a challenging transition.

Support can also mean reaching out and keeping relationships strong. Communicate constantly and give each member the opportunity to speak up regarding their own experiences, whether negative or positive. Feedback like this is critical to making improvements and ensuring that remote teams are fully supported and prepared to take on different challenges. It’s also important to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees as those are two things that affect their individual resilience. Introducing mental health champions or volunteer employees who can lend a listening ear to struggling colleagues or connect them to professionals is a great way to support employees’ wellbeing and to build a resilient, well-supported team.

Resilience can mean many things. In the workplace, however, a resilient culture means the organisation and its individual components share the ability to recover and thrive amidst challenging circumstances.


District Technologies is a workplace experience platform that allows communities to navigate the workplace and stay connected from anywhere. Workplace communities can use the platform to simplify their on-site activities from checking into the building, booking a desk or ordering lunch. The app is also a workplace social network that keeps your community connected wherever they’re based with news, resources, events and communications.

District Technologies is the go-to workplace experience platform that delivers to landlords and companies. A snapshot of some of our clients include; WPP, Investec, CEG, Elmpark Green, Cushman & Wakefield.If you would like to find out more about District Technologies, simply book a demo or get in touch.


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