Coping with change in the workplace, how can I manage this?
So what’s the best way of coping with change in the workplace? The workplace and the nature of work is changing at a considerable speed, It is not something you would visibly notice on a day-to-day basis. However if you stood back and took stock of how you completed your daily tasks two years ago, who you dealt with, what systems you used, and who you worked with, there is a strong likelihood that this is different to your work set-up now. How you are likely to deal with change today compared to five years ago could be considerably different due to the ever changing nature of work practises as businesses try to keep costs down and keep up with the competition.
So how can I cope with change in the workplace?
Lots of people are resistant to change and find coping with change in the workplace very hard; in the past even I would have been the type of worker who every strategic manager worries about guiding through change as I just didn’t want it. Common thoughts I would have would be:
- Why are we changing systems? The one we had worked just fine
- I don’t see the point of doing it X way. We have always done it Y way and it works
- Things will go downhill now that X has left our team to take up a new role
From the above you will note I only ever saw the worst case outcomes to change. I was happy in my work routine and closed to the fact that change can often be a catalyst for improvement or advantage.
I soon recognised in my career that change was inevitable and I needed to embrace it. By embracing change I gave myself the opportunity to see the positives that would come as a result. No company out there is going to update their IT system for the sake of it considering the cost and time commitment involved. If there was a decision to upgrade the system it was done so to benefit the company. Obviously there will be teething issues, and at the start it would be easier to work off the old system but these things bed down and you soon see the advantages of your new upgrade.
I am very much a believer that behind every successful company is a well-oiled team. Even if you perceive yourself to work autonomously you likely have some sort of team supporting you, be it sales reps on the ground, IT tech support, or the receptionist/administrator for those who have lots of experience working in teams you will already know how integral each person is to the overall success of the team.
When someone leaves that team it is easy to think they can never be replaced. However someone leaving while disappointing, can really be of advantage to other team members. Firstly it could represent an opportunity for you to put yourself forward as a replacement and therefore for you to learn another skill by doing a different job to the one you were already doing and enhance your skill-set. Also if a replacement is brought in, it could mean that the team is enhanced by extra skills and experience that the new employee may bring with them.
So the best approach is to embrace change, take it in your stride and understand that businesses need to constantly change to remain effective and competitive. Remember no manager wants to have an unhappy group in their team and in my experience a lot of the time if the introduction of new changes/work practises are found to be controversial and not as effective as might be first thought by management a middle ground can usually always be found to satisfy everyone.