The business world is constantly in flux. From personnel changes like hirings and firings, organizational changes like mergers or global expansions, or even switches from in-office to remote work, a sudden change can make you feel like you’re losing your footing.
How should you stand up to the change? Practice.
Adaptability is a soft skill that shows the ability to handle change without losing track of your goals.
To help you learn more about coping with changes in the workplace, we’ve created a guide to building your adaptability in the workplace.
What Is Adaptability?
By definition, adaptability is the ability to adjust to different situations and conditions. In the business world, this can mean anything from returning to normal when a manager is let go, adjusting to an office location move, or learning to work with a new team after a merger or acquisition. In these situations, adaptability means staying calm and collected so these changes don’t impact your workflow or wellness.
Adaptability is a soft skill that can be improved over time. Within the adaptability umbrella, there is a pool of traits and skills that can be worked on to improve adaptability in and out of the office.
A few examples of adaptability skills are the following:
- Critical thinking
Benefits of Workplace Adaptability
First and foremost, the ability to adapt can help you better enjoy your work experience and improve your mental wellbeing in the office. Adaptability soft skills focus on positive, gratitude, and mindfulness, all of which can make you happier overall.
In the office, being open to and accepting of change can help improve your career growth and success at work. As workflow fluctuations are common in the business world, proving your ability to accept and thrive amidst these situations can help prove that you’re a problem solver, leader, and a valuable asset to your company.
How to Build Adaptability at Work
More than likely, change is going to happen: 70% of employees reported that they experienced more than four organizational changes in five years. While this may shake up your work life, learning how to roll with it can help you avoid getting overwhelmed.
More than likely, a workplace shift is going to change your day-to-day work life. In the midst of this confusion, keeping questions to yourself will only compound uneasiness and keep you guessing about what your new work life is going to look like. The earlier you ask questions, the sooner you’ll be able to understand what is happening and how it’s going to impact you.
How to do it: If your company is experiencing significant churn, schedule meetings with your managers and coworkers to clear up any miscommunications or questions you have. Come prepared with a list of questions and be prepared to take notes. Remember to stay solutions-oriented and positive.
Adaptability soft skills: Innovation, critical thinking, flexibility.
Communicate With Others
Times of change can also be opportunities to become closer to your team. As you adapt to the shifts in your own workflow, acknowledge that your coworkers are going through the same thing and practice empathy. Building a stronger bond with your team can help you avoid workplace failures, as 86% of employees blame ineffective communication or a lack of collaboration for these failures.
How to do it: Schedule one-on-one meetings with your coworkers or invite them to eat lunch or grab a coffee with you. You can use these conversations to discuss challenges, lift each other up, and navigate the new structure or workflow together. You may also be able to provide new insight or perspectives to each other.
Adaptability soft skills: Empathy, respect, communication.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the current moment and acknowledging your thoughts, feelings, and needs as valid and important. During periods of big change, practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded and focused while coping with new information or potentially stressful situations. It can also help you stay calm, as people who practice mindfulness at work have reported a 28% reduction in stress levels.
How to do it: To get started on your own wellness journey, enroll in a mindfulness training course, practice deep breathing, take walking breaks throughout the day, or start keeping a journal. At work, you can practice mindfulness by taking breaks from work, saying “no” when you are overloaded with work, and taking mental health days as necessary.
Adaptability soft skills: Mindfulness, flexibility, positivity.
It can be easy to slip into negative thought patterns during times of stress or confusion, especially considering 80% of a person’s daily thoughts are negative. Working to shift your mindset and practice positive thinking can help you become more productive, open yourself to new opportunities, and reduce stress levels. When faced with a new work challenge, this can also highlight your adaptability as you work to see the benefits and opportunities that will come with the change.
How to do it:Pay attention to negative thoughts and work to negate them. You can also talk through negative thoughts with a friend, family member, colleague, boss, or mental health professional. When you finish a big work task, celebrate yourself and practice gratitude for yourself and others.
Adaptability soft skills: Positivity, confidence, respect.
For more information on adaptability in the workplace, check out the following infographic.
At the end of the day, adaptability is simply the ability to watch changes come and go without losing your focus. When big changes like global mergers or acquisitions are coming your way, services like those provided by Velocity Global can help you adjust accordingly.