How to Deal with Change in the Workplace

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Change is inevitable, but how we deal with it makes all the difference. We’ll walk you through how to cope with the unexpected in a positive, proactive way below…

After the last few years, we’ll all be well-versed in getting used to making some massive changes, especially in the workplace. But pandemic or not, workplace changes are a major part of any job and business – and some of us might be better equipped to deal with them than others.

Without the right tools to hand, change can lead to stress, discontent, and higher turnovers. Below, we’ll look at the different types of change you might encounter in the workplace as well as what you can do to make sense of the situation as a whole.

Different types of change in the workplace

Workplace change can come in all shapes and sizes, upsetting the balance everyone’s used to in one fell swoop.

Before we offer up some tips on coping with change at work, let’s take a look at the various types of workplace change you might encounter…

  • Staff changes: Whether it’s a new manager joining your team or a key employee leaving, personnel shakeups mean having to get used to new personalities and working styles – both of which can take time.
  • Role changes: A new role, whether it’s for you or a colleague, can bring with it a lot of movement and responsibilities, changes which can affect things that you might have become used to over time.
  • Technological changes: Whenever new technology is brought into a business, employees will have to spend time getting used to it, while new hires experienced with its use may have to come aboard too.
  • Organisational structure changes: Staying ahead of the competition involves a good deal of restructuring. Whether it’s new teams joining, current teams being moved to new positions or mergers with other companies, such adjustments can be major.
  • Company goal changes: Like changes to company structure, new goals may be created in order to remain current and competitive which can take time to get used to before equilibrium is restored.
  • Culture changes: A shift in company ownership, employee expectations, and investor decisions may bring about change in company culture, triggering a ripple effect of transitions that employees must deal with.


Coping with change at work

Whatever change might be on the horizon, there are plenty of different approaches and methods you can use to turn the situation into a positive, including the below…

Accept the change

It’s natural that you might be resistant to any incoming changes, you’re only human after all. But pushing back or being in denial about change is futile – it’s going to happen either way. And while not knowing what’s coming next can be scary, acknowledging the change is a positive first step, providing you with a degree of order you can use to start preparing for the transition, whatever that might be.

Voice your concerns

You’re bound to have your fair share of questions surrounding the upcoming change. However, you shouldn’t keep these concerns to yourself. Instead, approach your manager and let them know of any worries you’re having about the change process. They should be able to ease the anxieties you’re feeling.

Alternatively, you could turn to other colleagues or your professional network to inquire about whether they’ve dealt with similar situations in the past. By doing so, you’ll be able to find out how they approached the change – for better or worse.

Remain open-minded

In the same way we can resist change, we can close ourselves off to the opportunities they might bring about. Instead of staying in your comfort zone, be open to growth by embracing whatever the new position, colleague or cultural shift may afford you.

Practising positive thinking can help with this too; try writing out the potential positives that might come about as a result of the change. With this to hand, you’ll put yourself in a better position to accommodate the upcoming change.

Keep your relationships strong

Whether you’re leaving your team to take on a new role, a colleague is retiring, or a new employee is joining the company, change can impact relationships in a big way. We may even lose touch with those we were once close with.

If it’s a new starter, then be sure to give them a warm welcome so they can settle in properly. If someone’s leaving or you’re being promoted, then it’s important to keep in touch for both personal and professional reasons. Maintaining a network of people is important – you never know when you might be able to help them, and vice versa.

Avoid the rumours

When change is afoot, the rumour mill can often start spreading gossip around the workplace. If you’re prone to panicking, then speculation like this only ends up adding to the “what if” thinking that change sometimes creates.

Rumours are especially likely to gain traction when people are left in the dark; rather than looking at the facts, they read into certain situations and let their imagination run wild. Instead of being swept up in the rumours and gossip, try to get some clarity. If something you’ve heard is especially worrisome, then it’s well worth asking your manager, or anyone else who might have the right information, whether they can confirm certain things. Encouraging your colleagues to do the same can help put an end to any speculation too.

Help out your colleagues

Remember, you’re likely not the only one who feels uncomfortable right now. If that’s the case, try turning your attention to others who may be on the anxious side too. Try talking to them in person or via a messaging system so they can air any worries they might have. You might even go for a walk with them so you can discuss things outside of the office. Not only will you be helping them, you’ll be in a better position to deal with the stress of the change more readily.

You can help out your colleagues in another way too: by actively involving yourself in the change itself. Not only can you gain more insights into why the change might be happening, but by lending a hand, you can make the change go a lot smoother. Whether it’s new goals, onboarding employees or helping with turnover, offering to help is a strong look. Even if your assistance isn’t needed, the fact that you’ve offered can often be a big boost when it comes to morale.

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