Does Your Workplace Support Antifragility?
We live in a society where we are constantly playing catch up with the mental health or wellbeing of individuals and employees, especially in the workplace. The COVID 19 pandemic has shined a light on the fact that playing catch up can never be an effective way to address workplace wellness, employee wellbeing or mental health. We must go beyond catching up and build an environment that cultivates resilience, antifragility, and post traumatic growth.
You may be asking yourself, “What is this idea of antifragility and how does cultivating antifragility help us go beyond playing catch up when it comes to mental health, employee wellbeing and resilience?”
Antifragility is one step above resilience. What I mean is that resilience looks at how quickly a person can bounce back from trauma or stressful situations to the point where they were at before. Antifragility on the other hand is not just about bouncing back to the previous state, it is about increasing one’s adaptive threshold so that similar stressors or trauma are no longer a problem. A great example of this is exercising. When we exercise, the muscular system adapts and becomes more robust and better equipped to deal with not just the current load/weight but also a greater load/weight. If a person lifts the same weight over time, that weight becomes a lot easier to lift, less effort is required to do the same amount of work, and soreness no longer happens. Therefore, cultivating antifragility in the workplace will promote post traumatic growth, which is the opposite of post traumatic stress. Instead of breaking down, the individual grows and becomes more adaptive from the past trauma, experiences or stressors. Employees will in tern become stronger and will be able to more effectively deal with stressors, stress as well as trauma within the workplace.
To cultivate an antifragile workplace as an employer or HR department, we must first understand that the continuum of stress is the problem, meaning when stress continues to build up with no relief or respite, wellbeing and health issues arise. Therefore, it is essential that you aid your employees with tools that can help them cut through the continuum of stress, and such tools must be individualized. A great example of such a tool is our senses. Our senses can be used to redirect our focus, our energy and our attention inward. By doing this, we are now becoming mindful of one thing as opposed to numerous things at once. Research has shown that by focusing on one or two of our senses at a time, we can decrease external stressors and become more mindful and present.
Another way to cultivate an antifragile workplace is to look at the key components of a happy and healthy employee. According to our research in this matter, there are seven components of a happy and healthy individual and they are - Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Behavioral, Social, Economical and Emotional. Before implementing wellness programs or initiatives it is essential for organizations to first assess which area(s) their employees are struggling with the most and which are collectively impacting the organization. Knowing this shows you exactly what your wellness initiatives need to target first. If you are unsure of how to assess your organization and wellness initiatives, we are offering a complimentary consultation. Click here to schedule your session.