Covid-19 brought multiple changes to our work lives and a transformation to the way we provide our services. We incorporated virtual meetings, remote work routines, and online collaboration with colleagues, all while getting used to work-from-home demands. Now, we are facing new changes as we return to campus and enter another phase in the pandemic story.
Change can lead to disruption, challenges, and even learning opportunities that transform organizations and individuals. The strategies by which we perceive and approach unexpected and planned changes have an impact on the success of our workplace and, undoubtedly, our personal wellbeing.
The way we approach change does matter.
We have found ways to cope with social distancing, work isolation, possible financial stressors, and a variety of uncertainties. Pandemic fatigue, caused by the multiple changes we have faced in the last months, can be reduced or mitigated by taking care of your body, mental health and by engaging in a constant energy renewal process. To avoid burnout, ignite your motivation and sense of belonging to your workplace by encouraging a team culture that cares for everyone’s wellbeing. Create spaces to communicate with one another about the nuances of the return-to-work process. These are healthy conversations that can help minimize the impact of the disruption we experienced in our daily routines over the past year.
As we get closer to bringing back the pack, it is important to continue solid team communication so that the changes have minimal impact to our health and work performance. Here are a few recommendations to ensure a smooth transition as we shift back to campus:
- Clarify your performance expectations with your supervisor and colleagues.
- Maintain consistent communication as a team. This means spending some time discussing what is working and what needs to be adjusted as the new routines are established.
- Stay on track by emphasizing the “why” of what we do.
- Check in and talk about how you are doing, your concerns, and share your victories with the team.
- Routinely, give and ask for feedback. A culture of mutual support and respect starts with genuine opportunities to safely voice your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas.
- Value your colleagues’ efforts to deal with change. Use different channels of communication to express yourself and to listen to others. Empathetic listening can help us be more patient with each other while strengthening our ability to navigate change in a positive manner.
Tools to maintain your energy and take care of your wellbeing
According to the Mind Tools app, change can be difficult. It can challenge how we think, work, the quality of our relationships, and even our sense of identity or physical safety.
The first step is to recognize the stressors which are holding you stuck and keeping you from living at your most productive and fulfilled. Second, acknowledge that the changes we have been experiencing are difficult. It has been challenging to manage relationships, work responsibilities, family, and personal needs. Give yourself the self-love and affirmation to understand that you have been through a lot over the past 14 months. Third, understand the stages of reaction to change and work within them to paint a different picture of your situation. Let positive perception be the brush you paint with.
As we enter into the phase of returning to campus in the fall, be reminded that change is an ebb and flow, like a river, within and through four predominant stages. Your progression within these stages may not be uncomplicated or linear. Cognition that you are in this state of transition and showing openness to navigate with resilience and positivity can give you courage and strength. It can infuse all you are going through. Change, like other life events, has a beginning, middle and finish line which you can cross with energy and a healthy perspective on your life.