Responding to a Changing Workplace in

Uncertain Times

In a changing workplace where downsizing and re-engineering are becoming commonplace, an important thing to remember is that, in many cases, you can stay in control of the situation.   You can manage your own job performance, morale, attitude and behavior.

"You need to take initiative to ensure that you will prosper when changes come to your area and the expectations aren't as clear as they once were," says Rosemary T. Salmon, co-author of The Career Tune-Up. "And instead of waiting for your boss or the organization to issue new guidelines, take the opportunity to initiate some personal action plans so you can actively respond to the new developments."

Strategies for Success

Following are a few suggested strategies from Salmon to keep in mind when your organization changes directions, objectives or structure. They are proactive responses to managing your own performance and morale.

  • Do your best to meet cost, time, quality and quantity requirements.  "Even as things around you change, keep your work moving along at a steady, predictable pace," says Ms. Salmon. "You may need to interact more with others who can help you with the resources you need, and you may need to keep others informed about new and unexpected obstacles or bottlenecks."

  • Adjust to changing priorities. Be ready to shift from tasks that are comfortable, habitual and easy to new activities that will help you meet new priorities. "It may be difficult for you to let go of routine actions that you've been doing for a long time," says Ms. Salmon. "But the need to change your approach to accommodate new priorities is essential."

  • Set high performance standards for yourself. You know what you're capable of doing, and you know how much time and energy you're willing to invest in your changing job duties. Once you have defined your own performance expectations and made certain they meet at least the minimum required by your company at this time, you should be able to proceed with confidence.

  • Maintain a high level of enthusiasm and an optimistic perspective about changes in responsibilities and directions. "Even if you feel that what your organization has done or is doing isn't in your best interest, try to keep your end of the bargain by working as conscientiously and efficiently as possible," says Ms. Salmon.

  • Do your best to foster cooperation and teamwork with others. "Everyone is probably in the same situation, trying to figure out how things are going to develop and stabilize," she says. "Some of your colleagues may have figured out approaches that can help you, and some of them may be able to benefit from your ideas."

The LIFELINE Program Knows About Change

At times, we all may have difficulties with change especially when it comes to work.  Work is such an important part of our lives and when big changes happen at work, the stress can sometimes be tremendous.   The LIFELINE Program has been helping employees with work-related stress since 1988.  Call confidentially 1-800-284-7575 if you have any questions.