Five point plan to boost SME resilience

Half of Brits agree having a low level of resilience can adversely affect performance at work.

Motivation (56 per cent), responding to change (51 per cent) and workplace performance (50 per cent) are the three things people think are most likely to be adversely affected by having low levels of resilience, according to new research by AXA PPP healthcare.

Conversely, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents to the healthcare company’s poll say they want to be more resilient (defined as the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to keep going in the face of tough demands and difficult circumstances), chiefly because they think it would help in their day to day life and relationships (29 per cent) and at work (20 per cent) and because they fear for the future (20 per cent).

The findings also show that there’s plenty of room for improvement as only 15 per cent of respondents rated the UK population’s general level of resilience as high, compared with 42 per cent who scored it as low.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare, comments, ‘Bolstering your resilience is a smart move. It can give you an inner strength and confidence to deal successfully with the constant challenges and changes of modern working life.

‘Better still, it’s not rocket science and the behaviours and ‘can do’ attitude that are needed are well understood and, for those who are willing to make the effort, quite readily achievable.

‘It just takes time and practice – for example, taking time to reflect and focus on your priorities in your home and working life can help to ensure a satisfactory work-life balance and, in turn, equip you with a powerful psychological reservoir you can draw upon to enable you to bend rather than break when confronted by adversity.’

Five point plan to boost resilience

Work on your emotional intelligence

Being able to identify and manage your own (and colleagues’) emotions can help you to build a well-functioning team. Well-honed interpersonal skills are beneficial for seeing things more objectively and understanding and respecting different views. In addition, recognising how you deal with pressure – and being open and talking about it – can help you prepare for stressful situations more effectively.

Stay energised

A physically or mentally demanding lifestyle can leave you feeling drained, especially if you don’t counter-balance it by getting sufficient, good quality sleep.

A good night’s sleep often requires daytime investment, however, so try taking a lunch break away from your workplace, take a short brisk walk in daylight hours, stay hydrated and curb caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening to help improve your levels of alertness during the day and quality of sleep when the day is done.

Modelling this approach to your employees and enabling more positive behaviours will help boost their engagement and motivation and create a positive, supportive team environment – factors that can help your business to thrive.

Nurture relationships

Having a solid support network of family, friends, colleagues and ‘fellow travellers’ – those in business or in your life upon whom you can call – can go a long way when you’re facing awkward or difficult situations.

And, more broadly, team-based socialising can help to build a collaborative, supportive business culture that can give you and your employees confidence to embrace change.

Keep your perspective

When your attitude towards something is balanced and rational it can support your resilience as it helps you to have a clear view and see the bigger picture.

Stepping back – both mentally and physically – from a challenging situation can help you to identify and focus on what you have control over so you can set realistic goals rather than focus on things you can’t influence.

As a part of maintaining a healthy perspective, manage your work and home boundaries by, for example, leaving emails alone outside of working hours – and encouraging your team to do the same.

Prioritise and play to your strengths

Having a clear sense of purpose for yourself and for your business is key to developing and maintaining a positive outlook. This includes understanding what matters to you most.

Reflect on success and capitalise on it by asking if there are valuable insights when it comes to playing to your own – or your employees’ – strengths and how you might develop further.

Further reading on SME resilience

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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