It’s no secret that digital tools like Office 365 are quickly changing the workplace of yesterday. Organizations across industries and around the world are spending $20 million to $100 million to digitally transform and modernize the way their employees communicate, collaborate and connect with each other and their customers.
Despite the increased spend, many transformation efforts fall flat. A failure to focus on employees is a key factor. When organizations provide little to no communication or resources, employees rely on their perceptions and emotions, which can result in resistance and even fear.1
As that fear sets in, it becomes difficult to learn to use modern technologies and applications. In a recent Forbes article, columnist and author Brent Gleeson discusses the impact of change, and how people can control their own responses and emotions during times of change and uncertainty—which he describes as “emotional intelligence.” According to Gleeson, emotional intelligence taps the innermost feelings and empowers people to overcome angst, manage fear and welcome change. By taking ownership of how they respond to change, people can create opportunities to become more efficient and effective.
By taking ownership of how they respond to change, people can create opportunities to become more efficient and effective
Here are five self-directed ways you can minimize your technology fears:
- Understand that you’re not alone. You’re not the only one experiencing the change. Share your questions with your co-workers. A peer may know the answer or may even have the same questions. They may be able to show you how to use the tools or point you to helpful tips or best practices. This creates an open and organic way of sharing information and creates a natural way to learn. Participate in Lunch-and-Learns, workshops, or other group activities to learn how others use applications to get their work done.
- Don’t be afraid to learn. Make it a habit to practice and familiarize yourself with the tools. Leverage online resources, videos, and help guides that walk you through the applications step-by-step. Take advantage of learning opportunities your company provides. They are designed to help you not only learn how to use the tools but also learn how to apply them to your daily work habits or create new ones.
- Work smarter, not harder. Identify your work challenges. Use the applications to accomplish mundane tasks or to remove bottlenecks that prevent you from getting your work done. Eliminate multiple document versions by updating documents in real-time. Use chat instead of email to get answers quicker. Access documents from your mobile device, without having to connect to your company’s VPN. By incorporating the tools to solve basic problems, you become more proficient and work becomes easier.
- Apply what you’re already doing in your personal life to your workday. According to the Pew Research Center, more thanthree-quarterss of the American population (77 percent) goes online daily, and at least 83 percent of those do it from a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. Applications you use at work are increasingly available on your mobile device. You can check your calendar between meetings, update tasks, or have a face-to-face meeting without the need to power on a computer or a laptop. As tools become available, start to use your mobile device more to create a similar experience between your personal and work use.
- Think about the possibilities of work/life balance. More than ever before, technology is making it easier to work via a mobile device. Digital tools enable people to communicate, work together, and increase the ability to share knowledge faster regardless of location, according to MIT Sloan Management Review. Microsoft estimates that in just a few years more than 50 percent of the global workforce will be mobile. If your organization provides the tools and opportunities to work remotely, and your HR practices support it, take advantage of the ability to read an email from home before or after family commitments.
Digital transformation is happening at rapid rates. It’s changing the way organizations operate and their people deliver. With those changes comes our natural reaction to fear the unknown or having to do something different. There are ways to help ease your fears. Step out of your comfort zone. Take advantage of learning opportunities, imagine the possibilities of working differently and more efficiently, and it may not be as daunting as you think.
1. Sources: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-people-power-of-transformations; http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/technology/embracing-technology-overcome-%E2%80%98fear-change%E2%80%99-2018
PHOTO: “Wonderland Walker 2” by kevint3141 (CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
As communications champion, Courtney works with Vitalyst’s clients to foster smooth transitions to Microsoft Office 365 and other workplace technology, build excitement among employees to maximize adoption, and help organizations reach a higher return on their workplace investments.