Thriving in the Workplace after a Workforce Reduction

layoff announcement iStock_000007772282SmallLosing one’s job during a workforce reduction is tough. But those who remain in the workplace also feel the effects of cutbacks. If you still have a job, you may feel guilty and wonder why your job was spared. You may also feel anxious about your continued job security or changes in your role or workload. You may feel sad, unfocused or have physical problems, such as headaches or trouble sleeping.


When not managed well, organizational change can negatively impact employee morale and productivity. One study found that normal productivity in an 8-hour day dropped by as much as 3.6 hours during a major transition. The following tips from MHN – Health Net, Inc.’s behavioral health subsidiary – can help employees cope after a workforce reduction.

After a workforce reduction, how can you thrive in the workplace? The key lies in knowing what you can control.  Consider these tips:

  • Mind your body. Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise several times during the week. Keeping yourself healthy can ease your stress.
  • Take care of your team. Helping out others on your team is a win-win. Being proactive and positive with your work group can be valuable as everyone deals with the changes.
  • Communicate. Ask your manager about the structure and plans for your department and your organization, given the changes. Clarify any changes in your work roles and job expectations, and see if there are additional skills you can learn that might benefit the organization.
  • Plan ahead. Now is a good time to think about your ongoing career goals and how to reach them. Update your skill set, network and keep up with trends in your industry. As your organization changes, new opportunities may open up for you.
  • Perform. Organizations tend to keep their top performers. When you achieve results, let your boss know about them. Results can give your boss leverage if he is asked to trim additional staff.
  • Expect some adjustments to your work-life balance. Understand that more may be needed from you at work at first. Be as flexible as you can with your employer, while also looking for opportunities to take time off for self-care.
  • Evaluate your finances. If you were to get laid off, would you have enough money to live on for seven or eight months? If not, create a budget as soon as possible – and stick to it.


A final tip – Be open to receiving support. An Employee Assistance Program can help you cope with the emotional, physical and practical issues that you may face after a workforce reduction at your organization.


As part of its Employee Assistance Program, MHN provides organizational development consultations to guide employers through layoffs, organizational change and other workplace transitions. MHN also offers workshops for managers and supervisors on layoffs and organizational change, such as “Conducting Layoff Notifications” or “Managing after Layoffs.” To learn more about MHN’s services, please visit MHN’s website at, call 1-800-327-7526 or email


This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.
Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services and MHN Government Services. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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Stacy Madden