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Uncertain times and the impact on resilience - Building back better

Uncertain times and the impact on resilience - Building back better

 17th June 2021

Resilience is key to protecting and maintaining productivity, wellbeing, and social connection within our own personal lives and in the workplace.

2020 was a year like no other and no one could quite prepare for how it would make us think, feel, and react. It made us frustrated, fatigued, and uncertain as to what the future would hold. It has impacted on communities, work culture, mental health, and our general wellbeing. However, some people and businesses saw the pandemic as a time to come together, rise up and be resilient in the face of uncertainty, and the results have been amazing.

Moving forward out of the pandemic brings a whole other layer of uncertainty as with restrictions lifting, the virus looms behind us and we will be left wondering when and if it will strike again. This uncertainty can affect our mental health and our general wellbeing at home and in work.

Resilience is key to protecting and maintaining productivity, wellbeing, and social connection within our own personal lives and in the workplace. Being resilient is uniquely human so it is in our nature to do so and resilience has been shown in leaders and organisations throughout the pandemic. In a recent study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation 64% of people said that they were coping well with the stress of the pandemic, and nine out of ten people who said that if they were struggling with stress stated they were using a coping mechanism to help manage the stress; so even though resilience is uniquely human the odds seemed to be stacked against us.

Young people are being heavily impacted by the educational, work and social uncertainties that the pandemic has brought with it. The term “Generation COVID” has now been researched and written about and it refers to the young people aged 16-25 and the impacts that the pandemic has had on them. The Centre for Economic Performance London - October 2020 has some eye opening statistics:

  • Those aged 16-25 were over twice as likely as older employees to have suffered job loss, with over one in ten losing their job, and just under six in ten seeing their earnings fall
  • University students from the lowest income backgrounds lost 52% of their normal teaching hours because of lockdown, but those from the highest income groups suffered a smaller loss of 40%, revealing a strong inequality occurring in higher education.
  • Female students were far more likely than males to report that the pandemic had adversely affected their wellbeing.
  • A quarter of pupils had no schooling or tutoring during lockdown. Overall just under four in ten pupils benefitted from full schooling during full school closures due to lockdown; by early October 2020 six in ten pupils were benefitting from full schooling.

Organisations, business leaders and employees have also had their resilience tested over the last 12 months. With the constant reopening and closing that came with the local lockdowns and national lockdowns, it is hard to see how businesses and businesses leaders have survived.  Having lived through the pandemic we have seen first-hand many great businesses unable to survive as they have either ran out of funds, had staffing issues, or they just have not been able to reopen (even for a short amount of time) to get some breathing room.

Some business were however able to thrive in the pandemic because what was needed to survive it,  some business provided or pivoted. For comparison, in April 2020 82% of business in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector and 81% of business in the Accommodation and Hospitality sectors were temporarily closed, compared to industries such as Manufacturing which had 77% of it’s companies remain open, the Health sector kept 95% of it’s workplaces open and Information and Communication sector had 94% of it’s business open (Statista.com – April 2020 report).

The businesses that were hit the hardest had to find their resilient human nature to fight back and carry on surviving. Businesses did develop new ways to survive, restaurants quickly turned to food delivery providers to provide takeout food when they never had done before, bars conducted online wine, gin, whiskey or beer tasting sessions where you would buy the tasting kit from them, they would deliver it in a COVID safe way and then on the night that you had booked you would either join a Zoom call or a Facebook Live to participate in the tasting evening.

Once the shops could be open for takeaway many hospitality restaurants did takeaway service only allowing for income. Within the Art industry a lot of freelance teachers took to doing online Zoom classes for Painting, craft and sewing. The fitness industry also followed in this path and hosted online fitness classes for clients to follow along at home. The pandemic has brought out a lot of creativity in business and business leaders’ and allowed them to truly think outside the box in order to survive and better the business, themselves, and their employees.

This resilient nature has clearly had an effect because as of June 2021 the number of overall business trading has risen to 87%, the number of business trading in the Accommodation and Hospitality sector has gone from 61% in May 2021 to 83% in June 2021 (Office for National Statistics)

Going beyond the pandemic what does it mean to be a resilient business and leader? It means learning from the past and looking to the future, it means being adaptable and collaborative to let creativity grow, it means communication with your employees so they know and understand their value and purpose. We are now at a stage in the Governments roadmap where businesses and leaders can start to plan 6 to 8 months ahead rather than just 1 to 3 months. Sadly there has been a set back with Stage 4 of the Governments roadmap however from what we have seen the community spirit is very much alive in Manchester and the rest of the country and those companies affect by the delay I hope will feel the support around them.

Leading Well runs online Workshops on Resilience and on Coaching Techniques for People Management, if you would like to find out more about how you can bring your resilience into the workplace and build back better click here to register.

We have many resources to help you stay happy, healthy and resilient. Here some tips to help you centre yourself:

  1. Keep “checking the news” to a minimum – this will help you disconnect from the media whirlwind which surrounds the pandemic and focus on what is in front of you.
  2. Set your News and other App alerts to once a day and have a daily round up of what’s been happening through-out the day.
  3. Take regular breaks from work to make sure you are being as productive as possible.
  4. Communicate with your colleagues but not just about work, have a coffee break catch up to make sure you maintain those relationships.
  5. Stay hydrated throughout the day, especially in the Summer months.

 

For more information visit our pages to find out how you can improve your Wellbeing and Resilience:

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