How to Adapt to Change in Your Workplace (2023)
According to Deloitte’s European Workforce Survey, 40% of employees found it difficult adapting to COVID-19–related changes in the workplace.
While change may be intimidating, it’s inevitable. Businesses either resist change at the risk of going extinct or adapt to change and survive. For example without digital innovation, Apple wouldn’t be where it is today if it had remained only a personal computer company.. It developed the iPod and then diversified again into tablets and mobile phones, making Apple the consumer electronics giant we know it as today.
Although the importance of adaptability in the workplace has increased for employers, adjusting to change isn’t a skill that comes easy to everyone. Everyone reacts to change differently, and many of us find that ineffective change management can trigger a range of emotional reactions, from mild discomfort to intense panic or fear.
What Are the Best Exercises to Adapt and Overcome Change?
- Look at the Positives
- Embrace Change
- Prepare Yourself for the Upcoming Change
- Change Your Mindset with a New Perspective
- Set New Goals for Yourself
- Communicate Your Concerns
- Focus on What You Can Control
- Write Down the Worst Case Scenario
What Is the Importance of Adapting to Change in the Workplace?
Flexibility and workplace adaptability are critical skills that organizations look for in their employees to drive change successfully. Here are the top five benefits of adapting to workplace change:
1. Overcome Resistance to Change
Change in the status quo may result in strong emotional responses, causing resistance to change among some employees. However, being adaptive to change allows employees to overcome this fear and embrace change. You can also practice change management exercises to anticipate future concerns and reduce nervous energy that may arise due to change.
2. Makes You a More Valuable Employee
Irrespective of your industry, business process improvements are bound to happen within your organization. Being adaptable helps you handle these changes and all associated challenges with ease, making you a valuable team member of your organization.
3. Increases Workplace Satisfaction
Changes such as organizational restructuring, digital transformation, and mergers & acquisitions often threaten employee stability. However, if you are willing to adapt to workplace changes, you will more easily manage your stress levels and be onboarded with new processes.
4. Ensures a Smoother Transition
Workplace adaptability prepares you well in advance for a potential crisis. This empowers you with the skills to take a proactive approach to change instead of a reactive one, resulting in seamless transitions.
5. Helps You Stay Relevant
With ongoing, rapid technological advancement across industries, staying relevant in your chosen profession is essential. The more adaptable you are, the more quickly you’ll embrace new ways of doing things, such as learning a new skill, implementing a new workplace application or system, new processes, or new digital strategies.
9 Tips for Adapting to Change in the Workplace in 2023
Change management is a challenging process and often requires the dedicated support & vision of a change leader or change management consultant to overcome the often difficult range of change barriers. However, every employee is critical in driving any change initiative.
Here are seven tips to improve your ability to adapt to change in the workplace in 2023:
1. Look at the Positives
Although change is inevitable, change initiatives do not need to harm productivity levels or feel threatening. More often than not, change brings new opportunities. Visualizing these positives can in itself become a strong motivator to adapting to change.
For example, Amazon started as a resource for bibliophiles but adapted with drastic digital innovation to become a one-stop solution for all e-commerce shopping needs. With the rise of streaming platforms, Amazon has also strengthened its offerings with Amazon Prime to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, as well as with its Amazon Web Service offerings for cloud computing.
2. Embrace Change
Understand that change is a part of life, both in our personal & professional life. By recognizing and accepting that change is a natural occurrence in the workplace, we can more quickly adapt when it happens. Try to look at the opportunities that come with change. Do not attach yourself to the status quo, whether it is the processes the company used, the people you worked with, or the supervisors you worked for.
3. Prepare Yourself for the Upcoming Change
Taking a proactive approach to prepare beforehand drives you one step closer to adapting to change successfully— plan in advance to deal with any adversities and create a strong backup plan in the event you need support. Organizational leaders should explore change management tools such as digital adoption platforms to ensure the success of their change initiatives, providing on-demand support and reskill training to employees.
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4. Change Your Mindset with a New Perspective
Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
We appreciate leading our lives within our comfort zones, and that our self-limiting beliefs will kick into action when there are disruptive consequences of change. Although change feels uncomfortable, our mindset enables us to activate positive change in our lives.
5. Set New Goals for Yourself
Setting new milestones will shift your focus towards actions that will help you attain your goals. It reduces your anxiety levels and helps give you a sense of fulfillment. You should create milestones based on the SMART framework ( i.e., the goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.) These goals will empower you to find success in any change initiative, and not dwell on the past.
6. Communicate Your Concerns or Fears
Change communication will ultimately decide the fate of many change initiatives and should be a two-way street between leadership and individual team members. Therefore, it’s crucial to be cognizant of your thoughts.
Try to understand your feelings about the change, and then voice your concerns and fears openly to help proactively overcome them. Seek assistance from peers and leadership. While not a technical aspect of a change project, change communication decides the fate – and success – of your initiatives.
7. Focus on What You Can Control
We cannot control everything that happens in our lives, but we can control how we react to these events and the impact they have on our lives. Therefore, allow yourself to be flexible with your work, and shoulder the responsibilities you have control over. This shift in mindset, away from what you can’t control, will leave you feeling happier and more satisfied, as well as will provide you with action items that help drive the success of larger change initiatives.
8. Write Down the Worst Case Scenario
Spencer Johnson said in his book ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’, “What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”
If you are willing to accept the worst-case scenario, you can efficiently deal with the irrational fears paralyzing your actions. And the chances of the worst-case scenario happening are slim-to-none!
For example, after a long power struggle, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. Instead of giving up on the company, he founded a computer platform development company called NeXT. He eventually did become the CEO of Apple later on and was primarily responsible for reviving Apple, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy.
No one can operate at maximum efficiency levels all the time. There will be days when you are down, things aren’t going your way, or you’re simply unproductivity. In such times it is essential to break away from the monotony and immerse yourself in new environments and situations.