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Many people find handling change challenging at the best of times. Managing change through the Covid 19 pandemic is compounded because the changes have been so fast, dramatic and organisations have had little time to prepare. Everyone’s lives have been flipped upside down and it’s no surprise that staff have been left reeling. With social distancing and working from home policies now in place, trying to get employees to speed through the cycle of change is just not feasible. We need to help each other.

Change is stressful because it disrupts our comfort zone and can undermine our ability to feel valued and in control. If we are unsure of the new boundaries, expectations and what we can and can’t do our stress levels increase.

Hardiness research shows people who adapt fastest to change focus on three things:

  1. Commitment to make the change a success
  2. Control. They focus on things they can influence
  3. Challenge. They become solution orientated problem solvers

If we can embrace these concepts and help our staff to, it will make our transition to a new normal easier. Here are some tips on how to help staff members adapt to their new circumstances.

Seek clear direction

Organisations are still scrambling to put together working from home policies and thrash out details of how to monitor and connect with staff. Ask for clarification about anything that is still unclear for example, dress code for video conference calls, flexible working hours, progress update expectations and format etc This way you can commit to making the changes work.

Focus on what you can control

We can’t control Government or organizational policies or guidelines but we can be proactive with the way we work. We can choose to focus on ways to help ourselves stay buoyant, motivated and optimistic, we can choose to clarify anything that might be ambiguous, we can choose to solve issues rather than complain about problems.

Stay connected to your work colleagues

The people we used to see and chat to everyday may now not be physically present so it’s easy to feel isolated which can elevate our feelings of resentment towards the changes. Ensure you reach out to colleagues in a virtual format eg. catch up for FaceTime coffee break, connect on ‘Teams’ or ‘Zoom’, have Skype meetings instead of a phone call. This reminds us that not everything has changed, your colleagues are still there, just in a different way.

Manage stress levels

We react internally to external changes so ensure you take the time for self-care. Use relaxation techniques such as breathing, stretching and mindfulness.

Seek support

Talking to your manager, colleagues or EAP service about how you feel is important to allow you to capitalise on these emotions. Emotions are designed to spark action and unless we listen to the signals they’re sending, we can become overwhelmed by them. Listen to the signals that your emotions are sending eg. stress is alerting you to the fact that you need to gain more control.

We’re on a long road to a new normal and the faster we can embrace change the better for us, our organisations and society. If you’d like help with the process of managing change, contact Jill@jemtraining.com.au