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Working with Change

We have introduced a big change to our household. There is a new leader in the house.

We have a cat. Her name is Pansy.

I don’t like cats, so this is massive for me, personally. But I had to make a sacrifice for the greater good of the family. I am still grappling with her presence, as her arrival into our home has brought displacement and adjustments. However, there is no doubt that Pansy is great for my children. They are benefiting from having a pet. They love her. They play with her. She is their responsibility: they are each on a weekly roster for Pansy’s feeding and cleaning up the litter. And so far, Pansy and I maintain a respectful and generous distance.

In terms of the workplace, change is equally discomforting. Employees feel displacement and the adjustments that need to be made can, at times, seem too cumbersome. When we are faced with new technologies, or changes in the management structure, we feel the rub. Often, a new staff member arrives, preening and strutting; they stretch, make themselves ‘at home’ very quickly and this can grate on nerves. Change makes us feel pain and discomfort; we like things the way they’ve always been.

How do you handle change in your workplace? Are you one who embraces the idea of change? Are you someone who grumbles and complains every time someone new walks in the door? Or maybe you’re a manager, about to implement changes to your organisation. Let’s have a look at some of the ways that we can work positively with change in the work environment.

  1. Get involved: Don’t just sit and sulk. There’s no point to it. Like me with Pansy, sulking would get me nowhere. She’s a member of our family now. The same can be said of new arrivals in the workplace. Get involved with the new arrival. Bring a coffee one morning to their desk, or better yet, take them out for a coffee, or lunch. Talk to them. Get involved with the process. Talk to your manager about the implementation method, and ask what you can do. You’ll find that if you become involved, you won’t have the time nor the inclination to sulk.

  2. Understand what’s happening: This is linked with Point 1. You can only understand what’s going on, why the changes are being made, if you get involved in the processes, as well as with the people. On a deeper level, understand what’s happening with you. Self-reflect on your feelings about it. Talk with your managers so that they are aware too. Opening this line of communication will help you and your manager to understand what new skills and training can be provided.

  3. Enthuse those around you: There’s a lot to be said about passionate workers. The more passionate you are about what you do, the more likely you will be to enthuse those who you work with. One of the most effective ways to do this is to help others to cope with the changes. Get alongside your co-workers and you’ll see that you’re all going through the same thing. If you can provide guidance and a listening ear, you’ll soon see that you feel more comfortable with the changes.

  4. Know that change happens: Change happens, it has to. It is a huge part of our lives and if you’re not changing, you’re dead. View change as a positive process; it prevents you from becoming bored in the workplace and provides challenges to stretch and inspire you.

  5. Be optimistic: I’m not real keen on Pansy’s arrival into our home. But I am optimistic about her. I am looking forward to the responsibilities that her presence will teach my children. I watch the love they show her, already, and I can see the good she brings. Be like this in your workplace. Be optimistic about what’s happening, even if you’re not entirely certain about what determined the change.

  6. Move on: If you are really struggling after trying all these tips for a lengthy period of time, maybe it’s a sign that you need to move on. Find another job. It’s not the place for you. Stop infecting the workplace with your struggles and go somewhere else.

Whether the change is brought in on four legs, like Pansy, or if it comes in the work environment via a new manager or structure, it always makes us uncomfortable. We’re all known to say they we want change, but when it happens, watch as we all squirm and try to wriggle away from it. We love to be comfortable. It feels safe. But the rupture of our safe and comfortable zone is what brings new understandings and transformations.

As difficult as it can sometimes feel, embrace change when it comes your way. Understand that most often, the change is needed to disrupt and bring in something better and brighter. Just wait and you will see it. And if you don't, Fiddes HR can help you to design a change implementation strategy that works and help you roll it out.


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