6 strategies for dealing with change fatigue

Maria Vieira
July 1, 2021

After a turbulent year of learning how to navigate the ever-changing COVID crisis, our teams are now facing change fatigue. Transformation expert Julia Steel joined Teamgage recently in a webinar exploring strategies you can use to really help your teams through this difficult time.

“Most people don’t resist change, they resist uncertainty."
Julia Steel

1. Be patient

It was easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that the way that we came into the pandemic last year was going to be the way that we came out of it. We all remember the day in 2020 we suddenly switched from face-to-face working to the home office, and we expected that we’d be back on track the same way.

However, it's clear in 2021 that the path out of this is going to be a challenge with snap lockdowns and regular rule changes. We may need to experiment with very flexible hybrid workplaces for many months before going fully back to our offices again. This process is going to happen for a while, and once we accept that, we will become more patient.

2. Acknowledge that people will react differently

Everyone is going to have a slightly different response to this process. There will be a really broad range of people that are back and itching to get going, others will be the absolute opposite. Your challenge as a leader is to find ways to normalize it.

3. Offer support

Performance can’t be the priority. Many high performers are suddenly struggling not because they've forgotten how to do their job, but because they’re having a tough time. Leaders should explore ways to promote open discussions about health and wellbeing. Does your team have family overseas that they haven't been able to see? Have important personal milestones gone unmarked because of border closures? Are the team looking forward to a well deserved break or stressed about rules, restrictions and quarantines? It's the perfect time to implement a check-in culture, where people are encouraged to talk about how they feel and ask for help.

4. Be specific about technologies

People now have so many virtual platforms on their computers, that can they feel lost and overwhelmed. Be clear about the purpose of each communication channel and how to use it effectively. Email, chat and virtual meetings should have a clear difference in terms of topics and priority.

Also, as much as it’s important to be online, it’s also important to set some time to be offline. Reading a book or going for a walk can be great substitutes for the social life we used to have with a full working week in the office.

5. Simplify meetings

Attention spans are shorter. Reducing the number and duration of your meetings can help them to stay meaningful to your team.

Offering short notes or transcripts in other channels can also be a great option for people that can’t join.

6. Set short-team goals

Having a master plan is still critical but can become overwhelming for some people. So set short, achievable goals to get the flywheel spinning.  

Rethinking your goals can be a good opportunity to get your team engaged. Involve them in a co-creation process, where they contribute and share their opinions. With that shared accountability, they will feel more open to put the plan into practice and get the business back on track.

Watch our full webinar with Julia Steel on how to get teams working better together

Julia Steel has over 20 years of experience in transformation, projects and change. She has helped dozens of organisations, teams and individuals increase their impact. Julia is a woman of action, a powerhouse of implementation and all-round expert in getting sh*t done. As a speaker, trainer and coach, she has worked with organisations including Origin, ANZ Bank, the NDIA, Major Road Projects Victoria, L’Oreal, Honda and Blue Scope Steel. The author of 2 books, Julia speaks at conferences and corporate events, on 21st-century leadership, transformation, and how to get there.