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Tips for Overcoming Technology Reluctance

Gartner Study Highlights Resistance to Tech Changes

A new study posted by Gartner looks to assess the ability for workplaces to adopt new technologies. Polling a total of 3,120 workers between February and March of 2017, the study aimed to identify the amount of “digital dexterity” present in today’s businesses.

The study broke the respondents into different categories based on age, region, and how likely they were to acquiesce to a variety of workplace changes and conditions. Broad categories like being tech-positive or working from anywhere were used with a focus on technology at the forefront of the study. Working from anywhere, as an example, would largely center on working via mobile or video conferencing.

The results weren’t entirely surprising, with largely predictable trends among age groups, but there were some interesting things highlighted in the study. The U.S., Germany, and the U.K. take the top three slots in digital dexterity rankings, with Australia, France, Singapore, and Japan bringing up the rear.

More interesting was the breakdown between age groups; younger respondents were predictably more likely to be open to adapting to new technologies, as were participants older than 55. The middle “dip” between the two age groups makes for an interesting disparity. Middle-aged workers are far more resistant to change than their older and younger counterparts.

It’s no surprise that change isn’t always good and can sometimes be disruptive. Within the IT world, there are even developers working entirely on change management software to ensure our services and work aren’t disrupted when we update, modify, or overhaul something. Change is often necessary, however, and the introduction of new technologies into the workplace is a driving factor in innovation and the advancement of the industry. Understanding how to implement these changes will play a huge role in successfully improving our own digital dexterity.

Larger businesses have an easier time introducing new concepts and technologies, but that doesn’t mean smaller businesses can’t jump on board

Shiny new things cost money. Deciding you want your entire team to communicate through virtual reality headsets is a unique and potentially useful idea, but purchasing 20 new pieces of hardware and the muscle to run them is expensive. When transitioning to a new way of doing things utilizing the newest and shiniest tech, whether it be virtual reality or simply transitioning from IRC to Slack, the training, hardware, and software is going to require a time and money investment.

This is why larger companies will generally have an easier time implementing new procedures or technology. They flat out have the funds to invest in a new way of doing things that smaller businesses may struggle with.

For smaller businesses to cope with the flood of new technologies coming in every year, they have to be more selective about their choices and be prepared to be adaptive when it comes to IT. Not investing too heavily into a single way of doing things can greatly increase the dexterity of smaller businesses, allowing them to transition more readily into better methods.

Workers aged 35-44 generally feel their work has become routine and are more resistant to using mobile technology

We’ve all felt like our job has become a monotonous daily routine. This is most commonly reported in the middle-aged workforce and a large contributing factor to the increased resistance to introducing new technology. “This new software isn’t going to change how I operate every day, so why bother screwing with things?”

The solution to this, ironically, is to present several new changes or technologies at once. This not only demands more attention, but it also has a higher chance of sparking that interest in making the “daily routine” less routine. It may be hard to generate excitement over a new communication medium between workgroups, but announcing the introduction of video communication, working off-site, and more dynamic inter-group communication through a chat platform has the potential to shake things up.

Generally speaking, the more excited people are about change, the more likely they are to make full use of it. The challenge lies in generating that interest and carrying it through to implementation. This has a strong snowball effect; the more that people take advantage of new hardware or software, the more likely everyone will start making use of it.

Planning is crucial to the successful rollout of new ways to work

Like most things in the workplace, planning is the key to success. There are good times and bad times to introduce new ways of working to the rest of the workplace. The way change is presented a huge impact on how useful it will end up being.

It’s much easier to get newly hired or transferred workers to adopt a change in technology, for example. Training someone on a brand new system they’ve never interacted with goes much more smoothly if they’ve never worked with another system. Getting everyone acquainted with the system all at once will help to learn and ultimately improve efficiency.

Timing is critical, too. Rolling out several systems one right after another can leave people feeling exhausted and stretched thin. It can make work seem like an endless slog of training, relearning, and frustration. Planning to launch several systems one after another should instead be done all at once or spread out over a long period of time to help reduce the chance of tech fatigue.

Knowing exactly what the plan is and having confidence in that plan will help get people interested in new tech.

Remember the audience!

As IT-focused individuals, it’s easy to forget that not everyone gets excited about the latest and greatest technology. What sounds amazing to some may come off as overly complex or unnecessary when pitched to others. Keeping the intended audience in mind will help smooth the introduction of new ways to work. Knowing that there is a significant portion of workers that will be somewhat resistant to new tech can make a huge difference in successfully bringing more efficient procedures and methods to the workplace.

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