Workplace Change

Change—it’s like the unexpected guest at your dinner party, showing up whether you invited it or not. In the workplace, this guest can arrive in the form of a new software system everyone must learn, a shift in your job role, or even a complete change in company leadership. While some of us might welcome this guest with open arms, excited by the novelty, others might feel like hiding in the kitchen until it leaves. Change is challenging, inevitable, and often laden with a mix of emotions. But what if we could find a way to not just cope with this uninvited guest but to make it feel welcome? With the right attitudes and strategies, it is possible to navigate workplace changes skillfully, ensuring that you come out stronger, more resilient, and maybe even excited about what lies ahead.

Embracing change requires viewing its more difficult aspects as catalysts for personal and professional development. It’s about leveraging every challenge as an opportunity to grow, fostering a mindset that thrives on adaptation and resilience. This perspective doesn’t just help us cope with change; it enables us to actively seek out the growth embedded within it, paving the way for a cycle of continuous development. A nice idea to be sure. But what does this attitude towards change look like in day-to-day life? Here are some things that you can do if you’re facing change in the workplace.

Seek reliable information. Staying informed plays a crucial role in managing our reactions to change. Seeking out information, asking questions, and participating in discussions can demystify the changes happening around us, reducing uncertainty and anxiety. Effective communication is equally important; sharing thoughts and feelings with supervisors and peers can open up avenues for support and innovative problem-solving. It reminds us that we are not alone in our experiences.

Access Supports. Accessing support systems during times of change can be challenging depending on your situation. While friends, family, or mentors can provide invaluable emotional support, the extent and nature of this support can vary greatly depending on the skill of the person providing the support. Walmsley EFAP can offer counsellors trained in working with the anxiety, uncertainty, and difficulty that comes with workplace change.

Be Flexible. Being adaptable to new situations can make transitions smoother. This might mean altering your routine, learning new skills, or adjusting your work style. Flexibility can turn challenges into opportunities for doing things in a better way. Give changes a chance by allowing time to settle into them. New ways of doing things will often feel awkward at first.

Focus on What You Can Control. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the aspects of change out of your control. Focus instead on what you can influence – your attitude, your effort, and how you choose to adapt. Focusing too much on what is out of your control can have very real emotional and physical consequences. If you or someone you know is struggling with this do your best to make a little space for venting and then gently redirect the conversation back to actionable ideas that will help make things work.

Prioritize Self-Care. Navigating change can be stressful. Ensure you're taking care of your physical and mental health. Exercise, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you. If you notice that you are struggling to maintain healthy routines and enjoyment of your favorite activities and interests it may be time to reach out to a professional to help you process what you are going through.

Set Short-Term Achievable Goals. Break down the change into manageable parts. Setting and achieving short-term goals can provide a sense of progress and control during periods of transition.

Change, despite its challenges, is an opportunity for growth and development. By adopting a positive mindset, staying flexible, and supporting each other, you can navigate workplace changes more effectively. If you feel like you need some help, contact Walmsley EFAP and we can connect you with a counsellor.

Jeremy Biffert, Med. 
Walmsley EFAP