An organisational workout: the role of physical and mental fitness in IT resilience

  • Dr. Sandra Bell, Head of Resilience at Sungard Availability Services

  • 25.10.2018 08:15 am
  • undisclosed

You may not believe it, but IT workers are the second most active profession behind accountantsIt’s a tough gig – from meeting dynamic business requirements, to making the case for new technologies to the board and maximising return on IT investment.  Work in this industry can be hands on. In a professional world currently in a state of flux, IT workers play a crucial role in helping organisations supersede challenges. 

Organisations are complex machines, and while there are many factors at play affecting a business’s ability to succeed despite uncertainty, complexity and disruption– such as robust yet agile business operations, resilient IT infrastructure, supportive stakeholders and strong leadership - staff well-being is one element that is often overlooked, dropping down the priority list in favour of other considerations. For example, this year a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned that only a minority of organisations have taken steps to challenge unhealthy working practices, despite the implications this could have for employees’ mental health.

Forward-looking organisations know that resilience at all levels within an organisation is the key to sustainable competitive advantage. In the face of today's disasters, whether natural or man-made, the resilience of the whole organisation is as much dependent on the resilience of the constituent parts as it is on the creativity and innovation of the leadership.

However, resilience building strategies rarely extend beyond departmental constructs to the most basic building block of an organisation – its people. For example, when thinking about IT resilience the strategy should go beyond ensuring a robust and agile infrastructure, implementing disaster recovery for both business as usual and contingency operations and both physical and logical security and extend to the people. Resilience depends on the lifeblood of your organisation – your employees – remaining happy and healthy. Having an engaged workforce, who can exhibit both physical and psychological resilience, is akin to taking to the track for a relay race knowing you’re passing the baton to someone who is not only physically fit but is psychologically prepared to give it their all.

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