COVID-19: 5 Tips for Dealing with Change

Dr. Ryan Giffen

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, everyone is dealing with change in one way or another.  Students are adjusting to online classes as everything from elementary schools to colleges are closed.  Sports fans are watching reruns of classics instead of attending live events.  Many things are different than they were just a few months ago, and the workplace is no exception.  Many people have lost their jobs, and the vast majority of others are working from home.  Here are five tips for dealing with workplace changes that may help you during this strange time.

1. Accept things for what they are.

There are probably a lot of things happening (or not happening) right now that you wish were different, but continuing to focus on that fact isn’t going to change anything.  The first step to dealing with change is accepting that it’s happening.  Sure, this is probably not your ideal situation, but it’s the reality for right now.  Once you have accepted that, you can move on to whatever you’re going to do next.

2. Focus on what you can control about Covid-19

Instead of dwelling on all the uncertainty due to COVID-19, try focusing on what you can control.  What parts of your life haven’t changed?  Where do you still get to make decisions?  Where do you get to make different choices than you may have before?  Focusing on your own actions can keep you from becoming overwhelmed by everything that is outside of your control.

3. Find joy in the little things.

Even in times of change, it is important to maintain a positive attitude.  Often how you look at a situation impacts how you feel about it more than the situation itself.  Being optimistic can actually make you feel better.  Maybe you are disappointed that you can’t go into the office every day – but do you get to sleep in longer?  Perhaps you miss your coworkers – but are there family members you get to spend more time with?  Looking for the positives in every situation can help when you are dealing with change.  Even thinking of one thing that brought you joy each day can have a big impact.

If you are struggling to maintain a positive attitude, try purposely adding things you enjoy to your day.  Enjoy a cup of your favorite tea, take a walk around your neighborhood, or make time to watch an episode of your favorite show.  Finding joy in the small, everyday parts of your life is a great way to ground yourself and stay positive amid massive change.

4. Stay connected through the covid-19 pandemic

Workplace changes are not a good reason to disconnect from your network.  Stay in touch with the people you usually talk to even if you can’t see them in person because of COVID-19, whether that’s coworkers, friends, or relatives.  Even more importantly, be in constant communication with your workplace.  This is an unprecedented time, and things are changing very rapidly.  Make sure that you know the most up-to-date information on how your company is responding to the pandemic.

5. Take time for self-reflection.

Sometimes when a lot of things change, we want to just keep going like everything is normal.  As long as we can still work, we still work – who cares if it’s from home?  It is very important to take time to reflect when you are dealing with change.  Otherwise, you may find yourself suddenly overwhelmed when you thought you were adjusting fine.  Being honest with yourself is key to dealing with change.

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another.  Lastly, Dr. Giffen is producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast. a show helping everyday employees overcome workplace nonsense.