The dust has settled and the reorganization is over. You’re still employed, but the office landscape has changed. Longtime employees are no longer there. Your team members may have new roles and responsibilities. And everyone is feeling a little sad and on edge.
“It’s going to be very similar to a grieving process, like when someone has passed away,” says Nancy Tavares-Jones, a registered psychotherapist and founder of Life Pathways Psychotherapy, who works with employees during periods of transition. “Don’t be too surprised when the emotions come. They might even be delayed.”
Of course, now that you’ve made it through, the last thing you want is to be distracted by the fallout from what you’ve just been through. So, if your company has a new world order and you’re trying to adapt, keep these seven steps in mind.
There will be a great deal of chatter, speculation, and even gossip after the reorg. Try to tune out as much of it as possible, says Mark Womack, chief operating officer of Brooks International, an international management consulting firm. Of course, you want to be tuned in to what’s going on around you so you’re performing well, but it’s a waste of energy to engage in negative speculation and conversation. Focus on being a positive role model who is making the best of the new situation, he says.
In the wake of a company overhaul where people were let go and where you may have new responsibilities, you want to seek clarity on what’s expected of you and how to focus your energy, says Joanie Connell, CEO of Flexible Work Solutions, a San Diego-based human resources and leadership consulting firm. Ask your supervisors for direction and information—but be patient because they may be figuring it out, too, she says.
“Figuring out what you can do today and what information you have now can help you feel a bit more in control,” she says.
You’ve made the cut—you should feel good about that, Womack says. Now, it’s time to focus your energy on excelling in your new role. The people who keep a positive and constructive approach to difficult situations and who help others adapt are treasured by organizations, Womack says. Be that person.
At the same time, you aren’t a machine. You may have just been through months of feeling insecure and worried about losing your job. Now, you may be missing coworkers who became friends and even feeling some survivor’s guilt. That’s all normal, Connell says. In fact, you should pay attention to those emotions and find someone with whom you can talk about them. Your company may provide counselors or resources through its employee assistance program. Use them if you need them, she says. Ignoring such intense emotions can get in the way of you being at your most productive.
You may feel tempted to jump in with both feet, working long hours either because you want to prove yourself or because you’re doing the same amount of work with fewer people. But Tavares-Jones says now is the time to take care of yourself. Be sure to do the basics—eating well, exercising, and sleeping, at a minimum—to be sure the stress of both the reorganization and the period of acclimation afterward don’t get the best of you, she says.
Post-reorg, it’s easy to get mired in the “why,” Womack says. You might wonder why you kept your job while others were let go or why the changes had to happen at all. Good companies are clear about why the reorganization had to happen, but getting too personal about the matter—drifting into “why me”—is usually an exercise in futility, he says. It’s time to look forward and carve out your new achievements. Remember that a reorganization is usually an action taken out of necessity, and “if it hadn’t happened, then everyone might be out of work,” he says.
Womack also advises keeping in touch with former coworkers. Often, those who remained employed may feel awkward or guilty. However, if you worked together for a long time or remained friends, he says it’s usually a good idea to let them know they’re still important to you and keep them as part of your network.