June 2013 Archives
A recent survey by the American Psychological Association's Center for Organizational Excellence found that one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress with low salaries, lack of opportunity for advancement and heavy workloads topping the list of contributing factors. For more specifics regarding the results of this survey, click here.
The good news, as Dr. David Ballard, head of the APA Center for Organizational Excellence, points out, “When employers acknowledge that employees have responsibilities and lives outside of work, they can take steps to promote a good work-life fit and help individuals better manage these multiple demands. Forward-thinking organizations are re-evaluating work practices, providing employees with resources that support well-being and performance and applying new technology that helps shift work from somewhere we know from 9 to 5 to something we do that is meaningful and creates value.”
So what role can resilience play in helping employers and employees make this shift? The skills and the attitudes that make for resilient individuals and organizations are not just the ones that we need to survive adversity and to bounce back from hardship. But they play a key role in making our lives worth living. Connectedness and communication are two of these.
Most of us spend much of our lives at work. If we are to enjoy our lives, we should be able to connect and communicate in a positive way with the people that we spend so much time with. They should be part of a network of people that we can count on when things are difficult. They should be a source of support, not of adversity. But this requires efforts on our part, our co-workers’ part and the organization. We may need to work on our communication skills, and there are times when we need to be able to speak up and assert ourselves. Psychologically healthy organizations encourage employees to be involved and to grow and develop.
Some of the growth that needs to be encouraged at times is the ability for employees to adapt to changes in the organization. Change is a reality. Adapting to this reality requires that both employees and organizations be flexible. Work environments increasingly encourage team effort and joint problem solving. Effective communication is critical. Individuals and organizations need to learn to try in a different way to solve problems, not just to try harder in the same way. Such rigidity creates, at best, frustration or worse, failure.
Adopting to the work environment in the 21st Century requires that we accept change as a given. Most things are temporary and will have to change. Permanence is not to be expected. And the changes that do occur we cannot expect to have a pervasive impact on our lives or our organizations. Good or bad, they will not change everything. Their impact will usually be specific. Not everything will change. Blaming ourselves or others for the problems that we are or the organization is confronting is not going to be helpful. We need to be accountable for our actions, and we need to hold others accountable for theirs. But engaging in the blame game is a waste of time. Backbiting or gossiping certainly does not make for a better work environment.
If we can connect with our co-workers in a positive way, if we can be more effective communicators, the work environment will often be less stressful. This may require flexibility on our part and an optimistic attitude. The latter involves accepting that most things are temporary. But positive or negative events seldom have a pervasive impact on our lives, and then assigning blame is not helpful. If we can apply these skills and attitudes of resilience to our work, we can make the organizations that we work in psychologically healthier places.
In my next blog post I’ll discuss how some of the other skills and attitudes of resilience can be applied at work.
Although most work environments don’t have cuddly kittens and exotic birds visiting on a daily basis, for Rachel Hahn-Teichberg, head veterinary technician for All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem, MA, the animals are one reason she loves coming to work each day. Click to find out what else she loves about her job!
Tell us why you love your job! We'll be featuring submissions on our website and social media pages. Each month, we will select and recognize our favorite submission. If your entry is selected, you'll receive some delicious treats at your office to share with your co-workers! It's our way of helping you spread the love!