How To Adapt To Change in the Workplace (6 Methods)

Updated February 3, 2023

Change is an inevitable and often positive aspect of working with others, and the ability to cope with change can decrease stress and even increase productivity. You may find that new and exciting opportunities arise when you accept and embrace change. Adapting to change can take time and patience, but learning tips for handling change can help you stay positive.

In this article, we discuss how the concepts of "change" and "transition" differ, then share some tips for adapting to change in the workplace.

What is change?

Change is when the factors and circumstances of a person or organization become different from the previous conditions and procedures. This occurs due to dynamic situations and experiences that prompt new actions or requirements on the individual or organizational level. For example, changing to a new job requires you to change your daily tasks, communications and schedule.

Related: How To Deal With Change at Work

What is the difference between change and transition?

Change refers to the situations or events that happen to people and organizations. It is external and not always something they agree with, although it can be. Transition, on the other hand, is the internal process of adapting to a new situation. It is the process of successfully adapting from an old way to a new one. 

For example, a change could happen when your manager is leaving for a new job opportunity and a new person takes their place. Transition is the internal process you go through to adjust to working with the new manager. Change may also occur when you move from one job to another. Even though you may be excited about the new position, the change that it imposes as you leave one set of coworkers and start working with new ones can be challenging. The transition happens as you adapt and grow accustomed to your new team.

Related: Tips for Leading Change Within Your Team

6 ways to adapt to change in the workplace

Here are some tips to help you better navigate change in the workplace and adapt with ease:

1. Accept the change

Understand that change is a natural part of life, both in and outside of the workplace. By learning to accept that change is a natural occurrence in the workplace, you can more quickly adapt when it happens. Remind yourself that many of the best opportunities in life show up when you're open to change. Let go of the way things used to be, whether it was the processes the company used, the people you worked with or the supervisors you worked for. Remind yourself that change means there could be enormous opportunities coming.

Related: FAQ: What Is Resistance To Change and How Do You Overcome It?

2. Stay positive

Regardless of what group, department or company you're working with, having a positive attitude is essential for success at work. Maintaining the ability to view a potential change with a positive attitude can help you adjust rapidly. To do this, consider focusing on what could be made possible because of the change that's occurring.

You can also try meeting the new people you work with directly to adapt to changes in the workplace. Look for ways to leverage your abilities to the fullest extent within the new circumstances, as it can have a big impact on everyone around you. 

Related: 7 Tips for Thinking Positively at Work

3. Get a fresh perspective

Seeking the perspectives of people outside of your workplace, like those of friends or family members, can have a powerful effect on how quickly you adapt. These conversations can help you realize how other workplaces change and allow you to understand what's typical in your industry. Your connections may also be able to offer you some advice on how to cope with the changing environment at your workplace more effectively. This can help you to be more successful at work as changes are occurring.

Related: What To Do When You're Frustrated at Work

4. Focus on what you can control

Allow yourself to b focus on the tasks and responsibilities you have complete control over. This shift in mindset, away from what you can't control, can leave you feeling happier and more fulfilled. To help yourself focus on big projects or even big obstacles, try breaking them into small pieces. Ask yourself what you can achieve today and focus on the problem or project one piece at a time. The important thing is to only try to control things you can control. 

You can also take the opportunity to reflect on what you want from your career. Identify any skills you want to learn or further develop and add those to your list of goals to focus on. Knowing you can control your own professional development can increase your feelings of personal satisfaction, even as you find your workplace changing.

Related: How Do You Set SMART Goals? Definition and Examples

5. Set new goals

Setting a new goal can help to renew your purpose and give you clarity of focus when circumstances are changing at work. Goals can also shift your mindset and help you to prioritize more effectively. Instead of worrying about the change, having set goals may assist you in focusing on the actions that can move you toward your objectives. This can help you to stay positive at work and motivate you to increase your productivity.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

6. Stay connected to coworkers

To maintain your productivity and workplace success, stay connected to coworkers as your work environment evolves. Communicating with coworkers regularly can help you stay aware of what's happening around you. Become good at asking questions, because the more you know about what's going on in your current workplace, the more confident you may feel. Talking to others can help you maintain your positivity, boost your spirits and increase your energy while keeping you informed about new ideas and changes.

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