Whether you are teleworking for the first time or working non-stop to take care of sick patients, learning to accept change at work is critical to your career and happiness.
You may be frustrated, frightened, and sad for the way things were. Most of these feelings come across as anger. You are angry at having to talk to faceless people about new projects on a conference call.
You are seething because there are shortages of supplies and inventory and your customers don’t like it. You are filled with rage because the job you love is physically and emotionally exhausting every single day.
But you can learn to accept the changes and not allow the anger to take over. If you only do one of these items, make sure it is to answer this question and make a plan.
1. Why Do You Feel Negatively About the Change at Work?
Ask yourself what scares you or makes you angry about a recent change at work. Explore all the possibilities.
List Your Concerns.
Maybe you think your job or paycheck is threatened. Perhaps you think the company might close because of the change. Think through these concerns.
If you are working from home, but feel disconnected and out of the loop list reasons that being face-to-face with your coworkers is so comforting.
Healthcare workers, grocery store workers who are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of work they do should pinpoint the reason they feel so exhausted and worried.
Make a Plan to Change the Situation
If you find that your concerns are legitimate, create a Plan B that you can implement in your worst-case scenarios.
For example, if you feel disconnected because you are working from home, your worst case fear getting in trouble or being fired.
If you’re a manager, you may fear that your team is running amok or binge-watching Tiger King when they should be working.
Your action plan could be having random check-ins with your co-workers or subordinates. You could also have lunch or meetings on video.
If you are worried about being productive, keep lists of tasks to do and document what you get done in a day. That way if your boss asks what you are doing, you can name off several items.
If you are exhausted and overwhelmed at being in a high-demand field, give yourself permission to think about changing your job.
Give yourself a deadline to see if the current situation gets better. Thirty, 60, 90 days? Remind yourself why you wanted to get into healthcare, be a first-responder or to work in a grocery store.
Once you make an action plan, let go of anxieties about situations you can’t control and optimistically expect the best results that could happen from the change.
2. Remind Yourself That There Are Reasons for the Changes
You must trust that the company you work for is making the change for a reason. In the case of COVID-19, these changes are saving lives. You staying out of the office is helping the company fulfill CDC guidelines on social distancing.
If you are on the frontlines, and the demand for services are greater than ever, remind yourself that you are providing families with food, medicine, and care.
3. Being Negative Breeds Frustration and Fear.
Avoid gripe sessions with co-workers about changes in the workplace. Being negative is not going to bring things back to normal. It will only incite more frustration and fear.
Recognize your own negative thoughts and move on. If you made a plan according to item 1 on this list, concentrate on those items.
If you do get into a conversation with a colleague that turns into a whine fest, make an effort to be understanding, but try to change the subject to a more neutral subject. If pressed to join in the negativity, politely refuse and leave the conversation.
4. Accept the Change as Part of Your Job.
Recognize that an important aspect of your work is to support the management and carry out your leaders’ directives.
Simplify the situation for yourself by pledging to respect the changes and perform your duties as required.
Yes, a worldwide pandemic has changed the way almost every business and industry, but change at work happens in normal times too. Leadership changes, economic pressures and societal beliefs can cause businesses to shift.
It doesn’t matter what job you have, there will be changes to that job throughout your career. Making accepting change and going with the flow is one of your additional tasks as an employee.
5. Tell the Coronavirus: Challenge Accepted
Make a decision to face the change at work head-on and do whatever it takes to glean positive results from the new plans.
Resilience is a beautiful thing. Show yourself that you can roll with the punches. Every 10-20 years, America gets a curveball. If you remember Sept. 11, 2001, life as we knew it changed in a day. The nation mourned. The travel industry was transformed.
But slowly we got back to feeling confident and secure. Then in 2008, the economy collapsed. It transformed the financial services industry and again we were jolted.
There will be more hard times after the coronavirus is gone. There will be good times too. You can accept the challenge by:
- Getting up again when you are knocked down.
- Being innovative when the thing you’ve always done is gone.
- Having a plan to deal with setbacks.
- Enjoying the good times and finding the good in hard times.
6. Give Yourself Time to Adjust to Change.
Remind yourself that a transition period is OK. Transition periods are icky but they are a crucial part of the acceptance process. All transitions are temporary and they give your mind a chance to process changes.
Let’s look at a change at work like moving to a new house. When you move to a new house, you don’t just blink your eyes and viola, all of your stuff is in a new house. Life goes on.
No you have to throw out or pack your stuff. You have to clean the old house and transport all of your stuff to the new house.
Then you have to unpack the essentials i.e. the coffee maker, bedding, pet supplies, medicines and spend several days or weeks adjusting to a new layout, unpacking boxes, new route to work, new schools. Life is a mess. And moving to a new house is a change that you wanted.
In a work change, it is usually something that someone else wants. Allow yourself to mentally pack the boxes on what was, to throw out the idea that what was will return, and unpack your skills and talents to fit this new house. It will take time and that is fine.
Once you are in your new routine for a while, you will be able to do our final tip.
7. Embrace the Positive Possibilities.
Think about this: Your work situation might actually improve because of the new changes.
Your company may be more open to part-time or full-time teleworking. Some people love working from home. You might find the commute from the bedroom to your desk is better than sitting in traffic.
If you work in a high-demand field right now, your company has had to change its processes to keep up. When things calm down, these processes will make your company more efficient. They will also have lessons learned and start working on those solutions.
Although changes at work might be scary and unwanted, open your mind to the possibilities of change.
Put some of these strategies into practice if changes occur where you work. Yes, you can embrace change at work with positivity, confidence, and patience.
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