One of the most uncomfortable and difficult things we do as humans in our daily lives is to embrace change. Adapting to new phases of life, responsibilities, and unforeseen obstacles gives us anxiety, stress, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. Some handle these pressures better than others, and part of our Career Assessment process at Crosworks, is identifying strengths and weaknesses of change and how one handles it. In the workplace, change can be particularly difficult for most people. Whether it is a change in position, process, or reporting, we find the unpredictability of knowing our everyday processes to instill doubt in our minds of job performance or security.
Embracing change in the workplace is a practice that proves beneficial when we can master it. Being open to change for the better, will help us grow and learn – but getting into the mindset of accepting change is not easy for all. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces across the world have had no choice but to adapt and change to keep their businesses alive. With social distancing, stay-at-home orders, contactless service became essential. As a result of this, companies are now looking at the importance of maintaining a physical presence at work as we enter the post-COVID-19 world.
The Perception of Change
One of the most irritating and sometimes scary things about change is that often it cannot be anticipated. Understanding that as a fact and it is “okay,” an employee must accept this will happen and it is happening to more people than just themselves. There is not one person pulling the preverbal “strings” making it hard for them. So the focus must remain on one’s response to change in order to benefit from it. To control and manage our response, we must concentrate on our perception of the change and be willing to adapt. Roger Birkman said:
“The reality of life is that your perceptions – right or wrong-influence everything else you do. When you get a proper perspective on your perceptions, you may be surprised by how many other things fall into place.”
The Post COVID-19 working world will likely introduce many different changes across many different industries. Some industries, such as healthcare, rely on the ability to see patients face to face, offer plenty of space for workers, and indeed may need to hire additional employees. Other industries, such as corporate businesses, have noticed the value of having less office space and more remote workers. Overall, preparing to accept changes in the post-COVID-19 world will be critical in your career.
Some anticipated changes:
- Remote work and virtual meetings. Likely to continue post-pandemic, although less intensely, employers will not require all employees to come into the office daily especially if they can perform all their functions from home using virtual meetings.
- A reduction in office space. With more people having the capability of being remote, businesses are projected to decrease their office space by 30 % (Mckinsey)
- A decline in business travel. Due to videoconferencing, businesses have put into perspective the importance of face-to-face encounters and have ushered in more acceptance to the accessibility of virtual meetings.
- Increase in out-of-sate hiring. Individuals seeking employment are now more likely to look outside their geographical area. Again, with the increase in virtual meetings and technology initiatives to make working across state lines possible, businesses are not considering a different zip code or even time zone, an obstacle.
Adapting to these Changes
Accepting and embracing a new perspective is one piece of the puzzle, the other is attitude. A good attitude toward unexpected changes will impact how one deals with their new surroundings and how they view new opportunities. Crosworks offers six tips for building resilience to change:
- Positive Mindset. Focus on the good and recognize positive aspects of your life and praise them daily. Set an intention every morning and find happiness in your everyday blessings.
- Growth Mindset. Think back on any growth period in your life. How did it begin? Change is what leads us to growth. Begin to shift your mindset to see it this way. Journaling about what changes are happening, “a-ha” moments, and new things you are learning is a wonderful way to honor and accept your new journey.
- Flexible Thinking. Sometimes change is uncomfortable. Remember to expect this and grow flexible from it, so you can benefit from it. Move away from “black and white” terms, such as “either/or” and “good/bad” and instead move toward flexible thinking.
- Risk-taking. Every day do something that is a tiny bit out of your comfort zone. Try a new restaurant, meet new people, sleep on the other side of the bed. Embrace the uncertainty by focusing on the experiences and opportunities you will gain by doing something new.
- Structure. Creating structure and systems instills order during chaotic times. Find areas in your life where you can implement effective strategies to obtain structure – such as cleaning your room or changing your diet.
- Openness to Help. Know that you are not a superhero. It is impossible to do everything by yourself and that is okay! List the resources you already have and the ones you want to acquire. Create a support network that you can reach out to, bounce ideas off of, and make sure to be grateful and reciprocate that support.
With these tools, compassion, grace, and a little bit of discomfort, your ability to adapt and grow is possible. Try not to fear the change that is inevitably coming, but rather, love it and learn to live with it in harmony. As Charles Kettering said,
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”