3 Tips to Prepare for the Next Round of Transitions in the Workplace
Happy Wednesday, my friends! Across Canada excitement is mounting as provinces and territories move forward, step by small step, toward re-opening. This is, of course, welcome news to be certain but in our workplaces it also means another round of changes are coming our way. Remember, difficulty adapting to change doesn’t just happen in the face of change that’s perceived as negative. One of the best tools at our disposal to manage change is to anticipate and plan for it. Here are a few ideas to consider:
1) Acknowledge the Fatigue(s)
Zoom fatigue, work-from-home fatigue, change fatigue… The various sources of exhaustion people are feeling right now are endless! Simply validating that these challenges are real can go a long way to helping a person feel understood, supported and more at ease with impending change as this rollercoaster ride continues. It can be hard to admit to others and even to ourselves when we’re feeling over-stressed and having a hard time managing, given the way society and some workplace cultures place higher value on productivity – or the appearance of it – than personal human needs (sidebar: these two things are much more closely linked than many people realize!). Now is a great time to communicate and model understanding and compassion.
2) Spotlight Supports
What supports are available to your team members? Shout them from the rooftops! Don’t be shy about repeating yourself. Repetition is sometimes necessary for helping us to retain information, especially since right now there’s so much new information we’re needing to become acquainted with almost every day. Talk regularly about your organization’s EFAP and be sure to disseminate the details about exactly what it offers, different ways to tap into it (e.g. website, app, phone, etc.) and reiterate that it’s a completely confidential service. Are some people in your workplace certified in Mental Health First Aid? Identify these folks (with their permission) to the rest of the team to encourage peer support. It can also help to distribute a shortlist of credible resources, like websites and community agencies. (Hint: 2-1-1 is a great place to start.)
3) Be Patient
We all adapt in different ways and at different paces. Folks are juggling a lot of balls right now and flexibility in the workplace will continue to be vital in the stretch of time that lays ahead of us. It’s human nature to try and understand the attitudes and behaviors of others by making comparisons to ourselves or other people we know, but we must do our best to avoid judgments and assumptions. We need to ditch the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” – as in, Why is Susan having such a hard time adjusting? These are positive changes, she should be happy! or Things are finally getting back to normal, so Taylor shouldn’t need as much in the way of support/accommodation as what we were giving them during the pandemic. Recognition of our varied needs without judgment is where equity starts.
Here’s hoping that renewed optimism will carry you through the next wave of changes as we get a bit closer to what I’ve come to think of as “real life”. Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a great week!
Elizabeth Eldridge is a Psychological Health & Safety Consultant based in southern New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to frequent keynote speaking and corporate training on mental health she is the owner/operator of Arpeggio Health Services, Atlantic Canada’s largest provider of public mental health trainings. Learn more at elizabetheldridge.com, summitcorporatewellness.com and arpeggiohealthservices.com.