Building psychological resilience is our best defence against workplace burnout

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines ‘burnout’ as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that’s characterised by exhaustion or lack of energy, job-related negative or cynical feelings and reduced effectiveness. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a simple Google search will show you the numerous clinical studies and surveys that have reported a notable increase in employees experiencing burnout symptoms at work.

As governments worldwide adopt the ‘living with the virus’ mantra to encourage people to go back to work where safe and possible and open up the economy, you do not need another piece of clinical study to predict that more and more employees will experience burnout symptoms as they try to balance their work, health and home situations.

Companies can do a lot to offer the necessary support to their employees as they tackle the return to the workplace challenge by helping to improve psychological resiliency. Amit Sood, a leading expert on psychological resilience at the Global Centre for Resiliency and Well-being, defines psychological resilience by the ability to withstand, bounce back, and grow – despite downturns. His research shows that people who report higher resiliency are physically healthier, more productive, happier and have closer relationships.

Some strategies that can be rolled out in the workplace to help employees tap into and grow their psychological resilience can include implementing preventative programs such as meditation, mindfulness or exercise (eg. yoga) right through to adding supportive services to their employee benefits schemes such as subsidising well-being and weight management programs, telecare for mental health, time off to provide family or childcare support and one-to-one coaching programs that focus on building resilience.

In this volatile and uncertain time, we all need to build our psychological resilience and maintain a focus on our mental as much as our physical health and employers can go a long way in supporting this in ways that will benefit both the individuals and the organisation in the longer term.