While adaptability is not a new requirement in the workplace, employees need to be able to navigate through change and particularly during these times of uncertainty, we need this more than ever.
For some of us, these workplace changes usually happen in a blink of an eye and it can be a struggle to respond positively and effectively. Therefore, we have listed some tips on how you can adapt and embrace changes at work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Understand the change
Like many scenarios in life, it is important to understand the situation before you react to it. Changes in the workforce can encompass a variety of aspects: Is the team utilising new technology? Is there a shift in job responsibilities? Is there an organisational restructure happening within the company?
Gather as much information as you can about how it will affect you, your colleagues and the company, while you discuss with your manager on the requirements needed from the affected employees. Make sure you fully understand the importance of the implementation and voice out any questions you may have to embrace these changes effectively.
2. Break down tasks or rework your goals
When going through drastic or sudden changes at work, it is common to feel aimless or suspended in a state of limbo. During this time, big projects may seem rather daunting and complex to tackle. Take some time to look through your assignments and break down your larger tasks into smaller, manageable ones.
You might also find that your goals or aspirations may not be achievable during the period of change, especially during the pandemic. As the situation adjusts, it is expected that your goals may be adjusted as well. You can always relook into your goals again once everything has become more stable. This adjustment might even lead to a shift in perspective, thus putting you in an even better direction to achieve them!
3. Celebrate small daily wins
When navigating through times of change, it is very easy to focus on the negatives, including what you didn’t accomplish or what went wrong, rather than focusing on the positive outcomes. Looking at big wins is also great, however changes in the workplace tend to include many setbacks that prevent you from achieving that big win.
So, take things one step at a time; start your day by setting yourself daily goals and end the day with a reflection on what went well. No matter how small the wins are, you will find that if you focus on your wins every day, you are slowly but surely embracing the newfound change.
4. Try to stay positive
When receiving news about a potential change, it is normal to feel anxious and worried about the unknown. It can be challenging to embrace change when the old systems worked just fine, especially for those who fall into relatively comfortable habits at work. Therefore, try focusing on the potential positive outcomes and drive yourself to find new opportunities that can arise from these changes.
Although accepting the new norm may not happen overnight, it is always important to be optimistic and have a good attitude towards the change. Having the ability to maintain a positive outlook towards change will show the company that you are able to and willing to adjust rapidly to any situation.
5. Think long-term
It can be hard to think about the future benefits when going through a massive transition in the present. Remind yourself that these current uncertainties will pass and to look forward to the calm after the storm. When focusing on the long-term problem, the direction of the company and the rewards become clearer.
You will find that envisioning the future will help you discover the steps you will need to take to move forward, whether it is streamlining work processes or shifting your job scope. Although some of these steps, such as adopting a new workflow or welcoming a new team member, may require more effort and time in the present, the long-term benefits would outweigh the short-term challenges. Use this as motivation to continue to drive yourself through the change.
6. Focus on what you can control
There are many aspects in life that are not within our control and changes in the workplace can be one of them. For some, anxiety and stress come creeping in when dealing with the uncertainty that arises from a previously manageable situation. However, focusing on what we can’t control often takes our energy and attention away from what we can control.
Allow yourself to focus on the tasks and responsibilities that you have control over. If you only have a portion of tasks within a project that you can control, break down these big tasks into smaller ones. You can also use this time to reflect on your career path, which you have control over. Identify any skills you want to learn and further develop to reach your goal. This will give you a great sense of achievement and purpose, whilst your workplace goes through change.
7. Increase communication
Communication is always an essential part of the workplace and it becomes even more important, especially when facing change. As many of us are working from home due to the pandemic, keep up regular communication with your manager and colleagues to ensure everyone is on the same page. While keeping in contact through online messaging apps is a good way to stay connected, try hosting a video chat when calling your colleagues instead. This will help to avoid confusion due to misinterpreted messages.
It is also good to maintain communication within your personal life when you experience changes in the workplace. Whether it is with a family member, a friend or a loved one, your personal connections could offer you alternative perspectives, opinions, and even advice.
Going through changes at your workplace may force you out of your comfort zone. However, by understanding the change and reworking your thoughts, it will not only provide additional value to your organisation, but it will also support your development personally and professionally.