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Environmental and Workplace Health

Employee Assistance Program Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 2

The Impact of Change

Rapidly occurring changes

You have probably noticed that changes which affect your work, environment are occurring at an ever increasing rate. Innovations in technology and downsizing are followed by the reorganization of tasks and responsibilities. Developing a work routine seems impossible. "Ongoing change" seems here to stay. Eventually, this will become a permanent aspect of our lives.

The difficulty in letting go

No one easily accepts giving up an established way of performing a job and replacing it with a new method. A change, small as it may be, could result in a sense of loss. Changes may threaten your capabilities, your working relations with others, your territory and your future career plans. You may feel angry, confused, experience a loss of identity or a desire to withdraw. These various reactions are normal.

Accepting change takes time

When a change occurs, one immediate reaction is often to refuse to accept it. The potential losses seem more important than the advantages. As the change becomes inevitable, one may try to resist, experience decreased motivation, frustration, harbour accusations as well as the fear of failing in the newly assigned tasks. Insomnia, tardiness and repeated absences can all be manifestations of resistance. However, some employees will adapt to the changes more readily and will assist fellow colleagues in doing the same.

What to do? Collaborate

Paul finds the idea of having something imposed on him frustrating. The last time this happened, his boss did not explain the reasons for the changes. After losing interest in his work for many weeks, Paul decided to get involved in the implementation of the planned changes. He even offered suggestions which were greatly appreciated.

An opportunity to grow

The redistribution of responsibilities has Anne feeling a little disoriented. Not that she feels she cannot do the job, but her new responsibilities require her to make decisions which she is not used to making. Confronted by the unknown, Anne has gradually learned to take chances. Repeated successes have made her more confident in her capabilities.

Valuing experience

Richard thinks that he is too old to adapt to something new. Unable to accept that his work team has been separated, he is still resentful two years later, when he meets his ex-colleagues in the hallway, he complains to them about the boss who came between them. One day, a friend points out to Richard that the less experienced employees seek out his advice. Richard then realizes that changes have their positive side as well.

Call for confidential help

Paul, Anne and Richard adapted to their new situations. The length of time it takes to adapt depends very much on an individual's personality and the changes that are occurring. If the changes you are faced with upset you to the point where you become less productive or constantly anxious, do not hesitate to contact the Employee Assistance Program. This program is completely confidential; only you and your counsellor will know the content of your conversations.

All you have to do is call a regional coordinator or dial 1-800-268-7708 for 24-hour service. If you are using a telecommunication device for the hearing impaired (TTD), you must dial 1-800-567-5803. An appointment will be made with a counsellor of the Employee Assistance Program who will help you develop efficient strategies to deal with the situation.