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Building Workplace Resilience: Empowering Women at Work

women on different backgrounds and countries standing in an office together

Alright, my readers! Today, let's talk about resilience. That secret sauce poured over ambition, drive, and success helps women go the distance in the workplace. Now, resilience can be anyone’s superpower, but let’s face it, ladies – we’ve got a lot on our plates. There’s enough about glass ceilings, confidence boosts to work-life balance, and women empowerment being thrown at us, but does anyone know what it takes to get there? Here’s your backstage pass: the secret of female power.

It. Is. Resilience. Period.

Here's the skinny on workplace resilience. This is our human capacity to bounce back from difficulties in the office. It’s toughness, inner strength, sister power, all that shebang. As the other half of the social construct, we’ve been practicing it for eons because we’ve been running the business of ‘home life’ for years. No one really realizes we manage human resources, finances, logistics, and more just running the household. We need to take all that experience into the workplace. Because there, we’re going to need it a lot more.

So buckle up, bossladies; we're about to explore tools, strategies, and mindset shifts that ensure survival and success in our careers.

The makeover is not just cosmetic. Women have gone from Secretaries to CEOs. So, let’s talk challenges. Yep, they still exist.

  1. Biases: Ikh. That word gives me the hives! The gender bias might be getting better, but it’s still there. It can come discreetly in microaggressions or more profound ways like wage disparities. It usually means we must work twice as hard and go out of our way to prove our worth.

  2. Glass Ceilings: If only it were about glass slippers, now we’re battling invisible barriers while balancing killer heels. The glass ceiling limits our career progression, especially if it means we will be leaders.

  3. Work-Life Balance: We play so many roles already. But striking the right balance between work and personal life can be like juggling too many balls. Then add family expectations, kids, and dreams, and everything goes haywire, then hello, burnout, and stress. Deep breath, Fatima.

  4. Imposter Syndrome: Oh, the self-doubt. I mean, humans all go through it, but with everyone second-guessing what I can and cannot do, I am guilty of this as well. We doubt our achievements and fear being exposed as "frauds." Getting over imposter syndrome can be challenging, but it’s also essential.

  5. Stereotyping: Biases are hard enough, but stereotypes can be crushing. People make assumptions about our abilities, roles, or career choices based on preconceived notions all the time. So it just means we try even harder.

  6. Lack of Representation: It’s a man’s world, but female role models and mentors are cropping up. I still struggle to find relatable women to envision. I mean, Oprah and J. K. Rowling are great, but it still feels like I can’t really stand in their shoes, and they are in mine. Women around me in the corporate sector are still struggling to be represented.

  7. Mommy Bias: Oh, god. My work-life balance changed when I had kids, but more than that, it changed the way people looked at my work. Expecting empathy is hard enough, but companies provide less opportunity, and sometimes there’s unfair treatment.

  8. Networking Challenges: The women’s networking circle is growing, but it’s still hard to find women supporting other women. It’s great to see and connect with these women online, but there’s very little in the way of physical meet-ups and sharing stories over a beer. Not like guys do. At least, not where I am.

As women entrepreneurs or working women, we not only know these challenges are very real, but there’s a need to navigate the modern workplace from a place of perseverance. It’s a marathon for us, never a sprint. Resilience is a necessity. So, equipping ourselves with mental and emotional tools is the only way to overcome these hurdles, find success, and maybe change the workplace for future generations of working women.

Resilience, unfortunately, isn’t a secret sauce. It has to come from within. But that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Find others like you. But no one’s going to hand you your super-squad. You gotta make your own. Find women to look up to. I don’t mean the clichéd glossy bossladies in magazines or online articles about ’10 Awesome Female Mentors to Manifest’ (I don’t know if that’s a real thing, but you know what I mean.) So find a mentor, find your circle of kick-butt female peers, and make your own cheerleaders.

I have to constantly remind myself that change is a good thing. Nothing is stuck in stone. We’re adaptable creatures, more so because we’re women. So, we must remember to manifest that malleable part of ourselves. Trade out that fixed mindset, trade in some flexibility, and become a resilient force to be reckoned with.

Here are some strategies I’ve tried and tested:

  • Set Boss Boundaries: Leave your work at work and leave your home at home when you step out. It’s all about compartmentalization. Work should respect your personal life and vice versa. When they bleed into each other, things head towards ‘burn out’ or ‘emotional breakdown.’ Define your boundaries, make time for self-care, and organize that chaos. Look into batching. It helps to put everything into a neat little time slot during your day.

  • Detach before you react: Change how you approach problems and stress at work. Some exercises can rewire your brain to be resilient, but they all say the same thing: Take a moment to rethink how you will reply to that email or that question. Don’t react, but rather respond. Reactions mean you’re handing that control to someone else. Why? Take ownership of your emotions, and it will give you time to change or manage them.

  • Manage triggers: Stress will never go away. Something will always trigger us. Identify your triggers. Find out your pet peeves and see if you can approach them differently. When something sets you off, remind yourself that you know this is something that bothers you. Appearance of such a trigger will cause you to either react badly or create anxiety. So step back, calm down, and then think about how to deal with it.

  • Self-Love Workout: It’s not just about exercise. Work out your mind, body, and soul. Each medium needs some cleansing and rejuvenation. Try cardio, meditation, yoga, or dancing in your PJs; self-care isn't selfish. It's a necessity. And remember to nourish your mind however you enjoy doing it. Learn to draw a picture, read a book, anything! For your soul, I think introspection works for some; prayer works for others. Do what brings you equilibrium.

  • Never Stop Learning: Learning can nourish our minds. New technologies and discoveries are made every day. Even if you specialize in one skill, there is always something you can do more to be better at it. Learning never stops. Update your skills with modern innovation, not just because you don’t want to be left behind but also because it will give you a massive confidence boost.

  • Embrace Your Girl Power: I’m not so much of a feminist, but I like to be real. I’m a woman and should celebrate everything that makes me…me. Be your own cheerleader and surround yourself with people who believe in you. Be pink, kind, soft, and caring, and forget the world that constantly wants to harden us and make us men. Embracing our vulnerabilities can be incredibly liberating.

Resilience isn't just about weathering the storm; it’s thriving despite it. Every day, women are making marks in the corporate, scientific, and technology sectors. So don’t think about shattering the glass ceilings. Be like that kid neo meets at the house of the Oracle in Matrix and says, “There is no spoon.”

There is no glass ceiling. Don’t just crack it; make it nonexistent. Paint a bold future for the female generations to come. The workforce will never be the same again if we stand steadfast.

So, keep shining, my bossgirls, and never give up!

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