Career Development

How to Adapt to Change in the Workplace

December 12, 2019

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 even find that new and exciting opportunities show up for you when you learn to accept and embrace change. Adapting to change can take time and patience. In this article, we discuss the difference between change and transition and share some tips for how you can adapt to workplace change with ease.

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 situation that is new. It is the process of successfully adapting from an old way to a new. 

For example, a change could happen when your manager is leaving for a new job opportunity and a new person will be taking their place. Transition is the internal process you go through to adjust to working with the new manager. Change could 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.

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6 ways to navigate change in the workplace

Change can be challenging for everyone to one degree or another, but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s bad. Here are some tips to help you better navigate change in the workplace and adapt with ease.

  • Accept the change
  • Stay positive
  • Get a fresh perspective
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Set new goals
  • Stay connected to coworkers

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 a workplace, we can more quickly adapt when it happens. Remind yourself that many of the best opportunities in life show up when we are 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.

Stay positive

Regardless of what group, department or company you are working with, a positive attitude is essential. Maintaining the ability to view a potential change with a positive attitude is integral to your ability to adjust rapidly. Focus on what could be made possible because of this change.

Jump right in and meet the new people you will be working with directly. Look for ways to leverage your abilities to the fullest extent within the new role, as it can have a big impact on everyone around you. 

Related: 7 Tips for Thinking Positively at Work

Get a fresh perspective

Getting an outside perspective from friends or family members outside of your workplace can have a powerful effect on how quickly you adapt. These conversations can help you realize how rapidly other workplaces undergo change as well. They may able to be offer advice on how to better cope with the changing environment at your workplace.

Focus on what you can control

Allow yourself to be pulled into your work and 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. 

This is also a great opportunity to reflect on what you want from your career, also something you have enormous control over. 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 will increase your feelings of personal satisfaction, even as you find your workplace evolving.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Set new goals

Setting a new goal can help to renew your purpose and give you the clarity of focus. It can bring a new mindset shift that directs your energy and propels you forward. Instead of worrying about the change, you can focus on the actions that will move you towards your goal. This can have a powerful impact on your energy and state of mind.

Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

Stay connected to coworkers

To maintain your productivity and workplace success, it’s important to stay connected to coworkers as your work environment is evolving. Speaking with coworkers regularly can help you stay plugged into what’s happening around you. Become good at asking questions, because the more you know about what is going on in your current workplace, the more confident you will feel. Talking to others can help you maintain your positivity, boost your spirits and increase your energy.