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Managing change in the workplace

Managing change in the workplace

A large public sector organisation is going through a process of managing change and a senior manager has become concerned over one of his staff who is exhibiting signs of anxiety and is struggling at work.


James worked for a large public sector body. He had worked in the same department for 15 years and was generally happy in his role. However, the department was being outsourced and James found himself struggling with sleep, becoming increasingly irritable and had noticed his concentration and short-term memory deteriorating.

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The Problem

James was experiencing anxiety due to the process of change. He was experiencing thoughts about not being able to cope in the new business as well as concern that he would not understand what was expected of him. He had stopped going out with friends and reported an increase in alcohol intake. He has also stopped going to the gym.

Change can naturally bring symptoms of apprehension and sadness

The Solution

He saw a cognitive behavioural  psychotherapist for an assessment from Working Minds UK. The therapy identified a number of areas to be focused on.

Factors identified

  1. He had negative beliefs over his ability to cope with change
  2. He did not understand his symptoms and felt they were a sign of weakness and inability to cope
  3. He was unsure of his future role
  4. He had stopped activity/exercise and social contact.

The above issues were focused on in therapy:

James was given information on anxiety and managing change (see Self Help PDF section). He was educated regarding the factors that maintain anxiety and understood it was NORMAL to feel anxious when change occurs. This reduced his feelings of inadequacy and sense of weakness. A cognitive approach helped him to re-evaluate his beliefs and he was able to access the evidence of his ABILITY TO COPE (15 years of good service and positive feedback from others).

The therapy also identified the role lack of activity plays in exacerbating anxiety as well as lack of social contact and James started back at the gym and began seeing his family and friends once again.


After 4 sessions of CBT James felt more confident in his ability to cope with change and began to see this as an opportunity rather than an insurmountable threat! His confidence and general wellbeing increased. He also contacted his manager to explore his future role and this also increased his confidence.

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