Adapting To Change In The Workplace…
How to best prepare yourself to cope with the transitional period.
This is an article that has been requested by quite a few of Written Mirror’s loyal readers. As promised, here is an article examining the reasons for change in the workplace. Why these changes are often resisted, and finally, how best to embrace them for a smooth transition.
What Types of Changes?
It could be something as simple as changing from a paper based system to a digital one. New office furniture, layout, seating arrangements or even a brand new location. The usual meeting schedule changes its frequency and duration. Going from working solo on projects to having a team to collaborate with. A promotion/demotion, new hires, maternity cover, acting managers et al. Supplier change or a new sponsor. Maybe new policies are implemented or parking rules change. You’re starting to get the picture…
Why Are These Changes Made?
The short answer?
Your bosses hate you! They’ll do anything to see you fail!
Yes that was a joke; it had you going for a moment though…
So why are these changes being made? The most common answer you’ll get? To improve service/system/efficiency etc. A lot of the time this is the simple truth. Doing things the old way might work for you but it’s affecting the bottom line. That is not good for business and change is a side effect when countering losses. The other side of the coin is when things are going well but change comes along anyway.
Moving location is usually a sign of either progression or regression. Either way it is a significant change. Hiring a larger workforce is usually a good indication of a healthy upward trajectory. Too aggressive an increase, the company might be preparing to sell in the near future.
Lots of new managers for roles that didn’t exist before? The company is broadening its reach and trying to focus its workforce on a deparmental level. This could also be linked to a future sale.
Analytics from the past year suggest the changes had to be made in order for the company to continue to be profitable (or to prevent future losses). Changes such as Parking? That depends on the vibe you pick up from the company. Is it unfavourable to you and you alone? If not, it sucks, but it probably had to happen.
Why Do I Struggle To Accept These Changes?
Returning to the example of a company doing well and then all of a sudden changes arrive anyway. The changes you may even argue, are at the expense of quality. These types of changes are the hardest to accept. They put you in a position in which you’re forced to evaluate your own belief system thoroughly. Do you silently accept this or do you revolt? You question why you weren’t consulted? Depending on the severity of the changes and the role you perform in the business, this may prove an unforgiveable act. Yet you like it and have become accustomed to working there. So you’re fight or flight responses kick in. Is it to be or not to be, you wonder…
In other cases it may be a matter of conveniece, (parking, small team, office location) you’ve become accustomed to certain perks of the job and it’s going to take some getting used to.
The changes being implemented are usually outside of your control. You’re far better served retaining control over your own reactions to change.
The flipside of this? You’re the person who has changed. Perhaps you’ve become a manager or received a well deserved promotion. People look at you and treat you differently. You almost feel guilty for levelling up and doing better. Don’t! There’s bound to be some resentment at first; especially if you all went up for the same role and others were overlooked.
Anything short of total disrespect is worth ignoring. As long as you didn’t do anything untoward to receive your promotion…
Rise above the petty nature of others… JM
How Do I Accept These Changes?
In cases where you’ve been the beneficiary of a reward for your hard work. New role, office, perks etc. Remind yourself what you did to get into that position in the first place. Master your emotions and embrace the challenge. It may be a bigger stage or a more challenging role, but you’re also bigger and better than before. Get out there and adapt to your environment!
When the changes have a direct affect on the way you do your job or how your time is utilised, think long and hard about what works and what doesn’t. Re-evaluate yourself and your importance to the company. If you don’t like the result of that exercise, you have the power to change your circumstances. If you find that it is a minor inconvenience, focus on the bigger picture.
If you feel changes were made to sabotage you or make your job harder, you may want to think about consulting your union or someone you can trust. If your gut feeling will not go away, there are further steps you can take to seek a resolution. An informal meeting, formal grievance or of course you always retain the right to resign if it does not work in your favour.
Every employee, no matter where they work or which role they perform, has the right to work in a workplace which never compromises their safety or dignity. You absolutely have a right to work somewhere safe and to be treated with respect.
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