Energy Hacks for Building a Resilient Workplace Culture: Part Two

Posted in News on 4th September 2020

2 hacks for harnessing ‘thinking’ energy

Building a resilient workplace culture is central to The KeepWell™ Mark workplace wellbeing accreditation from IBEC. Doing so requires understanding and harnessing five types of energy: ‘physical’, ‘thinking’, ‘doing’, ‘relating’ and ‘feeling’. In this, part two of a five-part series, Lisa Wilkinson, who teaches around these energies in-depth in The elbowroom escape’s ‘Resilience Training Retreat’, shares two hacks for harnessing ‘thinking’ energy…

Resilient workplaces have high rates of presenteeism, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and productivity. This is because resilient workplaces do not just manage stress as it arises. They proactively put in place policies, practices and strategies to build resilience from the top down. Central to such an approach is managing energy.

Last week I introduced the five types of energy that resilient workplaces proactively encourage, sharing two hacks for harnessing physical energy. This week, I’m sharing another two hacks, this time with a focus on ‘thinking’ energy.

Try them. They work!

Hack 1: To sustain a resilient workplace culture, you can encourage employees to control the controllables

When the demands of a situation exceed your ability to control them, you experience fatigue and overwhelm. When you are given help to believe that you have more control over such situations than you may have perceived, these symptoms subside. This is true at a personal, team and organisational level. So, enabling employees to control the controllables makes sense.

One very simple exercise for which I get regular positive feedback focuses on identifying what you can and can’t control. Sometimes clients choose an organisational situation to facilitate using this approach. Sometimes we focus on a team situation. Sometimes employers enable employees to focus on their own personal situations, safe in the knowledge that our professional facilitators are here to support them.


Controlling the controllables

The exercise goes like this:

  1. Describe a current situation in your work (or personal) life that is causing you stress.
  2. Describe the specific things that you can control in this situation.
  3. Describe the specific things that you can’t control in this situation, though may be able to influence.
  4. Describe how you are going to focus on the controllables you have identified in question 2.
  5. List the ways in which you can influence those areas you are unable to control. (N.B: I have another ‘identify your sphere of influence exercise’ I sometimes bring in here if, for the group concerned, this seems relevant.)
  6. Write your action plan for controlling the controllables.

Share stories

I always start and end this exercise sharing true stories of when I have chosen to take control of the controllables and how it positively impacted my life, my team and my business. I invite others to share their experiences too.

Doing so ups the energy in the room and anchors the exercise in people’s minds.

We cannot choose what happens to us in our lives. When we recognise that we can ‘choose’ how to respond to what happens to us though, we are more likely to react in ways that lead to better outcomes for all concerned. Sometimes though, circumstances hi-jack our best intentions. This is when we need to switch our focus to sustaining an energy-giving environment.

Hack 2: To sustain a resilient workplace culture, you can encourage employees to identify and manage what gives them energy and what takes it away

The simple act of focussing on the controllables, rather than wasting energy trying to change things over which you have no control, positively channels your thinking energy.

Sometimes though, stuff just happens that hi-jacks your best-intentions. Fear not! You have access to all that thinking energy you’re no longer spending chasing things you can’t control. Use it. Identify the people, things and activities that give you energy, and those that steal energy. Put practices in place to ensure you’re surrounding yourself with energy fillers, rather than energy drillers.

Energy fillers and energy drillers

Here is an exercise called The Self Confidence Pot. Many versions have been doing the rounds since the 1950s. This version is courtesy of  strengths mentor and author, Mike Pegg, based on the original version of the exercise by the pioneering family therapist Virginia Satir.

I highly recommend physically drawing your self-confidence pot and writing in your fillers, drillers and pot filling action plan, rather than filling in an online version of this exercise.

Why? Because, what we write, we remember. Another true fact.

Next week, I’ll share my hacks for harvesting ‘doing’ energy. Meanwhile, you can find out more about our tried and tested packages you can tailor to create your own team building activities and team-building experiences here. You can watch a short video about our unique team building venue here. And, you can get in touch here.

lisa wilkinson

lisa wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson left a successful career in the corporate world 20 years ago to retrain as a yoga teacher and went on to set up The elbowroom, a well-being hub, in the city of Dublin in 2003. Spurred on by its success, she bought and renovated a mountain lodge in Wicklow, launching it as a retreat venue in 2016, The elbowroom escape. Having directly experienced the impact of a less than ideal work life blend herself, Lisa is passionate about delivering health and happiness in the workplace. Witnessing how doing so has reduced the attrition rate within her own companies, she now offers her expertise to other companies and business owners and is a regular speaker and workshop facilitator on corporate well-being and resilience for organisations including Ibec and Dublin City fm.

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