Author of the month: Sarah Cook

Social distance restrictions may again be lifting across the world, but we’ve known for some time that doesn’t automatically mean employees will be piling back into offices and we’ll return to the 9–5 routine.

According to a 2020 Gartner study, 74% of senior management planned to keep remote working practices in place even after COVID-19.

This is great news for some, but for others it opens a range of new challenges in workplace relationships and resilience.

Although many of us have got used to the prospect of working from home, it came with the giant caveat that life as we knew it was on hold. Social events were restricted, travel was a no-go for long stretches and there was a greater awareness of the stresses created by the pandemic.

Once restrictions ease and we return to life as it once was – or as close as possible – you may find that the dynamics of remote working shift once again.

That’s where author and consultant Sarah Cook can help. Her new book, Well-being in the Workplace – A guide to resilience for individuals and teams, helps managers understand the challenges that await them and the steps they can take to create a healthy and happy workforce.

Who is Sarah Cook?

Sarah Cook has more than 20 years’ consulting experience, specialising in team building, leadership and change. She’s the managing director of The Stairway Consultancy, and previously worked for Unilever and as head of customer care for a retail marketing consultancy.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and is a Chartered Marketer, Cook previously gained an MA from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from The Open University.

She focuses particularly on employees’ well-being, providing advice on how to stop remote workers feeling isolated and to retain a sense of unity in the team.

This expertise formed her latest book, Well-being in the Workplace – A guide to resilience for individuals and teams, which we discuss in more detail below.

Cook also speaks regularly at conferences and seminars on these topics, and during the coronavirus pandemic her expertise on remote working has been particularly sought after.

For example, during the pandemic, she hosted the webinar Making a Success of Managing and Working Remotely for IT Governance, which you can watch for free.

Receive 15% off Well-being in the Workplace – A guide to resilience for individuals and teams throughout August by ordering from the IT Governance Publishing website, and entering the voucher code Cook15.

Well-being in the Workplace – A guide to resilience for individuals and teams

Remote working makes it even harder for managers to identify if team members are struggling, and employees may lack the support network to help them cope with stress in their work and home environments.

Managers have a critical role in creating a motivating environment where team members want to give their best. How we react as leaders and managers influences others’ motivation levels.

Well-being in the Workplace – A guide to resilience for individuals and teams is designed to help you address the issues associated with that.

It contains useful tips and advice, and will help you recognise the impact ambiguity can have and spot the signs of declining mental, physical, emotional and social well-being.

“I was motivated to write about well-being and resilience at work even before the pandemic,” Cook said. “This is because businesses are now recognising the importance of employees’ mental as well as physical health.

“Team members who feel well mentally, emotionally, physically as well as spiritually are more likely to be engaged with their company and give of their best.

“The pandemic and the move for many to home working has meant that some people have felt isolated, worried and disconnected from others. The need to build resilience is now vital both for individuals and teams.”

Her practical guide equips managers with the skills and confidence to effectively build their own and others’ resilience and support their team’s well-being. It covers:

  • An introduction to what resilience is and why we need it;
  • The challenges for managers of building resilience in themselves and others;
  • How to assess your own levels of resilience;
  • Tips for physical, emotional, mental and social well-being;
  • How to build resilience in team members; and
  • The benefits of building resilience and how to make habits stick.

Managers, team leaders, those in HR roles, and employees looking to adapt to new ways of working will find this book invaluable.

Well-being in the workplace is available in physical, eBook, ePub and Kindle formats. Find out which format is right for you with our handy guide.

Other books by Sarah Cook

In recent years, she’s used this experience to publish several books on team building, leadership, management development and coaching. Her publications are:

Those interested in learning more about the challenges of remote working may be particularly interested in Making a Success of Managing and Working Remotely.

It provides practical guidance on how managers and their employees can continue to work and communicate effectively while physically distanced.

Using case studies, diagrams and tables, with a good balance of research and practical advice, Cook discusses both the technological and psychological aspects of remote working.

What’s next? 

Cook has been working with many companies over the past year, helping managers and teams understand the characteristics of individuals who are resilient at work.

This has included helping people understand what resilience is and how it works, why well-being is so important and the steps they can take to increase their levels of resilience both inside and outside work.

If you’re interested in her consultancy services, you can contact her via LinkedIn or The Stairway Consultancy.