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International SOS: Building resilient workforces

© Courtesy supplied by InternationCovid-19 has accelerated the need to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future for your workforce.
Covid-19 has accelerated the need to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future for your workforce.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most impactful influences on the global workplace in recent years. Not since the advent of PCs and the introduction of the internet and email have organisations from every sector felt such a dramatic change in the way they work.

Coronavirus, unmatched in scale and impact, has revolutionised the workforce, changing work patterns and forcing employees to adopt and adapt at the flick of a switch. With employees slowly returning to work, employers need a new playbook as the pre-Covid and “new normal” worlds collide and reshape life at work and at home.

Covid-19 has accelerated the need to build a safe, sustainable and resilient future for your workforce. Failure to do so could result in a backwards step in workforce wellbeing and, in turn, limit productivity and weaken your business.

International SOS’ head of mental health, resilience and wellbeing, Carolyn Taylor, explores below how organisations and employers can build a workforce resilience that will not only futureproof your company, but support employees and colleagues against the long-term effects of the crisis.

Why do you want a resilient worker?

In every company, there are employees who seem to sail through rough times. When the going gets tough, they’re the epitome of tough, and they get going. These people are resilient and their resilience allows them to thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from any situation. Whether that be a rescheduled offshore rota, a frustrating co-worker, or a global pandemic, those with greater resilience have developed strategies to handle and manage stress and adapt quickly to find solutions.

Greater emphasis on stress management, in turn, breeds more physically healthy employees. The positive emotions that accompany a resilient attitude are thought to boost immune systems.

Increased productivity stems both from a resilient person’s ability to more easily bounce back, meaning they are less likely to suffer from illness, use fewer days of sick leave and are more likely to be effective in the workplace.

In addition to their physical health, resilience is also known to be a huge benefit for mental health. As people who can sometimes, it seems, breeze through difficult times, this doesn’t mean the difficult times don’t exist. But it does mean that those who deal with stress and anxiety better have developed ways to handle setbacks well, instead of feeling overwhelmed and challenged.

Their ability to remain unfazed and find a way through a difficult time also sets these types of workers up to be ready and willing to learn new skills or take on new roles when required. A hugely important and beneficial trait to display when organisations are experiencing periods of change.

How do you teach or develop resilience?

Resilience is a key skill which people can develop and learn, especially with the support of companies, employers and colleagues.

International SOS offers a bespoke service that can help foster resilience in your workplace, building a stronger workforce and better productivity.

With packages available to the suit the needs of any organisation, this can take the form of:

·       Psycho-social mapping/stress auditing

·       One or two-day accredited mental health first aid training with on-going support for the trainees

·       Half-day mental health awareness training

·       A Hearts and Minds programme to understand the connection between mental and physical ill health

·       Training managers to help them understand how to manage their teams

·       Training from one hour – two days on all aspects of building resilience and managing change, including such subjects as;

o   Having difficult conversations

o   Time management

o   Stress vs pressure

o   Change management

All training can be conducted remotely, or classroom style. In addition, Carolyn and her team are all offshore trained and can offer this service both off and onshore.

Resilient employees can be a key component in the strength of your organisation. They manage illness better, maintain productivity and operate with mental toughness that can raise the bar across your workforce. Every company should explore ways to nurture a resilient workforce.

For anyone interested in finding out more about International SOS’ healthcare solutions and how they can support your mental health wellbeing please contact Claire Westbrook-Keir, International SOS client relationships director: claire.westbrook@internationalsos.com

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