Change in life is inevitable. As sooner as we can adopt to change the better we will be able to position ourselves and make the best out of it. This is especially true when it comes to change at work. Employees are used to a certain routine and settle into the pattern of finding the way of least resistance just to get around and through the day. Change is the last thing employees want to deal with.
Employees fear change because it pushes them into the unknown. They fear change because it could also mean they have to work more and adjust to different procedures. Change could also mean that they suddenly face competition which requires them to revisit how they do things. Change is not convenient. Change destroys the routine they are so used to enjoy.
While the fear of change is natural, employees should try to take control of the fear of change and to turn it into a creative energy. By doing so they actually might discover better ways to do certain things and maybe even to advance at work and gain a better position within the company. But it requires them to step away from the path of least resistance. Because fear of change is such a strong emotion, it creates an enormous amount of energy in a person. Usually the problem with this is that the additional energy tends to be more negative and eventually destructive (example: turning into a depression). People who experience change see themselves often as the victim. They feel unprepared, threatened in their integrity and inadequate to conquer whatever they may have to face. Important: They feel they have no control over the situation and do not know how take control again.
The insecurity resulting from fear of change decreases the ability to stay motivated and focused on critical issues going on in the work environment. Fear spreads like a disease and fear of change at work can take away the motivation of large groups of workers. With fear of change spreading, employees start making negative comments about all sorts of things to others. This behavior might not be intentional, but the overall damage to motivation and productivity is severe.
New studies show that fear of change does not always have to lead to negative energy. Some companies have already recognized this and actively try to turn fear of change into positive energy and increased productivity. The process to do this is difficult though. Building team spirit and motivational events are one step to fight fear of change. A company needs to identify who feels threatened most by change in the work environment and do appropriate steps to limit the emotional impact of change. Increasing communication when change happens is another key to successfully fighting fear of change. But words should not be just an empty shell as otherwise the effect of change could worsen.
It is up to each company to identify how they want to deal with environment changes and how they affect employees. Some companies decide to do nothing. They are not even officially seeing change as problem. They do not put 1 and 1 together when productivity goes down after a significant change to the work environment happened.
Is your company pro-actively dealing with change?
About the Author
Christoph Puetz is a successful entrepreneur and international book author. Christoph Puetz lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. One of the websites he maintains can be found at Web Hosting Resource Kit.