Building Resilience in the Workplace

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On the 24th of June, The Future Economy Network (FEN) and Future Leap hosted their first evening hybrid event entitled “Building Workplace Resilience”. The event was kindly sponsored by Great Western Credit Union. Before the event began, the attendees enjoyed some pre-sessional networking both online in breakout rooms, and in person over delicious smoked tofu skewers, tartlets and drinks.

Davina Gilbert, Events Manager at The Future Economy Network, welcomed attendees to the event and highlighted the benefits of joining the network. Davina also shared updates about the Carbon Neutral Hub in Bristol, Future Leap as well as briefly running through plans for the Festival of Sustainable Business, in light of new Government guidance towards the COVID-19 pandemic. Our speakers included:

· Sim Ilyas, Business Development Manager for Great Western Credit Union

· Sarah Hunt, The Bristol Gulls

· Leah Steele, Founder of Searching for Serenity

Sim talked to the audience about considering their financial well-being, he identified that people normally fall into one of three attitudes to money: aware but avoiding it, overwhelmed, or on top of it. Attendees were encouraged to identify their essential expenditure to establish a key figure, disposable income – this figure is directly linked to your ability to weather financial shocks.

With 40% of people citing money as the biggest source of stress and money Sim asked us to change our perception from money controlling you, to you being in control of your money. One of the ways to do this is to not be afraid of opening your banking app and looking at financial statements, as to understand finances you need to be engaged with them. Finally, the attendees were reassured that they can seek out independent advice if they are struggling as financial well-being is important to wider well-being.

The speakers were then invited to the stage for Q&A.

Sarah delivered a very inspiring talk detailing how she rowed the first eco boat across the Atlantic in 46 days, only getting to sleep for 1.5 hours at a time! Their primary goal was to cross the Atlantic in the most sustainable way possible, this was considered in all aspects even down to the sunscreen used. The team also raised awareness for the need to clean up our oceans.

Resilience was a key component to their success. Sarah detailed to the audience how their boat got turned over by a large wave and they lost some critical equipment, rather than feeling defeated by this the team carried on and ensured to tie down the rest of the equipment especially well. The team had to train at home due to the pandemic keeping gyms such, they used zoom to keep each other motivated and this strong team building was used throughout the row. The attendees were left with a key piece of advice to not be afraid to lean on other around us, we don’t have to everything by ourselves. Having a goal can help you keep going and improve resilience in the face of large challenges, Sarah detailed how perhaps the row was more accountable to mental strength than physical.

The speakers were then invited to the stage for Q&A.

“Burnout is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that arise when someone who cares about doing a good job works too hard, for too long with too little care and reward.” This is Leah’s definition for the experience of going into your energy overdraft through over working. Poor mental health is costing the UK government up to £99 billion each year, and 32.5 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health in 2019/20. This is the largest figure ever recorded and, not surprisingly, the majority of this ill health was due to stress, depression or anxiety.

Often, we feel that it is entirely up to us to manage workplace stress and it has almost become a competition as to who can do the most work. Living in our energy overdraft results in burnout which is not a sustainable work-life balance. In order to come out of this overdraft Leah asked the attendees to manage what we stress about and prioritise the things we do, for example not to skip weekly yoga if it is something you enjoy. In parting advice, the audience was told to slowly come out of their overdraft rather than hope to win the lottery and pay off all the debt at once.

The speakers were then invited to the stage for Q&A.

Attendees made use of the 60 second pitch opportunity, including Garrett Creative and Global Goals Centre. Before the event finished, everyone was able to network in person or using facilitated breakout rooms online. A huge thank you to the speakers and attendees of this event, without which our events calendar would not be possible. Thank you to Great Western Credit Union for kindly sponsoring this event – for attendees who were not able to pick up one of their tote bags at the event, please feel free to pop by Future Leap during opening hours!

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