The impact of change on your work life

Change can affect you in good and bad ways. Learn more about managing these now.

What you will learn

  • Difference between planned (choice) and unplanned (imposed/no choice) change
  • How to prepare for change when you hear it is happening
  • About the emotions you may feel during a transitional period and how to manage these

Change at work is inevitable. Sometimes these changes are small, and sometimes they can be significant. There are two main types of change which can impact you directly:

Planned change

Planned change occurs when deliberate decisions are made in an organisation, or by yourself. E.g. you have decided to apply for a promotion or move job 

Unplanned change

These are organisational changes that are not foreseen prior to the need to change, often made necessary by shifts in the organizational environment e.g. needing to be retrained or redundancies  

Facing and embracing change 

When facing change you should develop and make use of your Career Management Skills (CMS) and take control of your future. During any process of change you will experience a number of different and often conflicting feelings. Many of these are associated with a sense of loss for what you have been familiar with and a resistance to the changing situation around you.  

These changes can be welcomed or imposed – but the change that occurs can still lead to these feelings and a worry about the future. Such feelings could affect  your health, your judgement and your energy levels. It is important to deal with any such feelings appropriately and positively.  

Have a think about:

  • How you feel about the work you have done for your present employer?
  • How you feel about the situation you are in?
  • How you feel about the financial responsibilities that you have at present?
  • How you feel about the effect that redundancy/retirement/job change may have on you, your family and friends
  • How you feel about the idea of looking for a new job?
  • Are you aware of other feelings arising from the situation?
  • Are there any positive aspects to the feelings you have mentioned above?

Understanding your personality, interests and values is key to making the right career decisions.

There is always a solution to a problem. Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing can make problems worse. The keys to understanding the impact on change is good stress management, building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook. You will inevitably find some feelings easier to deal with than others when it comes to the impact of change.  

You might experience: 

Shock

You may feel unprepared for the change that is happening to you. Being active though can reduce some of the emotional intensity you are feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with the situation more calmly.  

Denial

 It is not easy to picture a future that is different to what you are used to. Changing a situation is not always possible. Try to focus on the things you do have control over such as creating an up-to-date CV or LinkedIn profile. 

Frustration

The feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing. The act of taking control is empowering and is a crucial part of finding a solution that is right for you. 

Depression

You are not alone. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can help you see things in a different way. Talking things through with a friend can help you find solutions to issues.

Experiment

Setting yourself goals and challenges helps to build confidence. Helping others through activities such as volunteering or community work can build your resilience and confidence.

Decision

You will feel ready to look to the future and assess your options, set goals and put plans into action. Prioritise tasks that will make a real difference to your situation. 

Integration

Stay motivated by looking for the positives in life and things for which you are grateful. Try writing down three things that went well, or for which you are grateful, at the end of every day 

Change and you

In this section we give you tips on managing change as an individual. Change in the workplace may involve practical changes: Job description, level of responsibility, pay, working hours or other terms of employment. 

Organisational change may include less-tangible changes: Opportunities to use favoured skills, opportunities to do certain types of work, power to use your initiative or to change your team makeup.

Change can be challenging and distressing, but it also presents opportunities.

Here are some tips on successfully coping with change:

  • Be prepared -Pay attention and talk about change. Understand what's happening, how it may affect you, and what opportunities may become available
  • Accept the reality - and inevitability - of change
  • Adjust your expectations
  • Control yourself - You can’t control change - but you can decide how you react to it
  • Empower yourself - Identify and use your resources, skills, strengths, and support network
  • Acknowledge your feelings - Change can be an emotional time - but stay on top of practical matters.
  • Take your time - Too much change too quickly can be stressful and disorienting. Going slow is an essential coping strategy 
  • See change as opportunity -Change brings advantages as well as disadvantages 
  • Adapt to your new situation - You may need to replace previous routines with new ones.

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