Does change have to be stressful?
26th September 2019
Depending on how it’s handled, change can either be stressful and daunting, or exciting and empowering. Businesses need to change in order to thrive and meet developing needs. However, managing that change to ensure it doesn’t result in stress and uncertainty for staff is a challenge.
Even when change is positive, it still requires people to adjust to something different and new, which can cause stress simply by disrupting a routine. The fear of the unknown can cause anxiety, which is not conducive to a happy, harmonious office environment with a productive workforce.
Here at MovePlan, we support businesses through change, whether that be an office move or a new way of working. So, how can you adapt a business to meet changing needs, without causing unnecessary stress to employees? Here are our tips on some simple ways to ensure change doesn’t have to be stressful.
A plan is crucial to ensuring that any change is implemented smoothly. You need to be sure that the change you are preparing to make really is right for the business, and that all options have been thoroughly considered. Planning will make sure that you set yourself targets and goals, which will help when you come to evaluate the change after it has happened, enabling you to learn from it. It will also ensure you keep on track, and always have your key objectives within sight when organising the change.
From a big change such as relocating to a small change such as reorganising some desks, the more detailed the plan the more likely it will be that the change can be implemented smoothly and without stress.
Communicating with staff is key to lessening their feelings of fear or uncertainty around change. There is nothing worse as an employee than feeling that your bosses don’t care about you enough to keep you informed of the company’s plans. Ensuring that staff feel involved with what is happening will help bring them on board, and prepare them for the change before it happens.
It would be even better to give staff the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions or give their feedback on the plans, even if only a small, representative group. You could consider hosting engagement events for staff, to inform them of the plan for change before it happens and keep them updated on developments. If anyone is feeling stressed about the change, then communicating with staff will help them to express these feelings, and there may be simple solutions to reduce their anxiety.
See it as a learning opportunity
Change might not always have the impact expected. Despite careful planning and consideration, sometimes change doesn’t work out as was hoped. Rather than see this as a failure, look at it as a chance to learn. There might be some aspects which worked and others which didn’t, or maybe it has had a positive impact, but not to the scale imagined. It might be that certain aspects need adjusting in order for things to work better.
Businesses need to continually change, and so looking at change as a learning opportunity will help reduce the stress felt about it, enabling everyone to see the positives rather than focus on any negatives.
Monitor feedback and change success
Evaluating change after it happens helps businesses ensure that it is successful. It will also enable staff to feedback how they think it went. Giving employees the chance to comment on change will reduce their stress if they feel they are being listened to, particularly if there is the opportunity to alter any aspects which haven’t quite worked. Plus, if staff feel valued and part of the team when it comes to change, the next time it happens they are less likely to feel stressed as they know it will be carefully managed. Employees are much more likely to embrace change in the workplace when previous experiences have been handled well.
Businesses which do well, and which retain staff, are often those best able to manage change without causing stress. At MovePlan we are experts on helping businesses manage change, so bringing us on board to offer our professional advice could be beneficial in the long-run.