There are those who know what to do with a piece of technology the second they pick it up. You know the ones.
They queue for hours to get the latest Apple products and somehow have managed to sync every devise in their home. Then, of course, there are the button pushers. These are the people who fear technology, become confused at the sight of it and simply press random buttons when something goes wrong in the hope of finding a solution.
When designing offices, it is important to take the two extremes into account and all those that settle somewhere between them.
Tech savvy Gen Y are used to change, they have seen the development of new technology surge over the past 20 years. Being settled isn’t high on their priority list, and they are going to adapt to a new office quickly. But what about the rest, and there are many of them, who have seen their office looking one way for a long time, and then overnight it is gone.
Desktop computers are replaced with tablets, conference rooms replaced with meeting pods and filing cabinets replaced with cloud computing. People are inevitably territorial about the space they work in and if it’s suddenly taken away from them they can feel a little lost.
Step-by-step for smooth tech transition
So there are steps that need to be taken to make the transition a smooth one. To start with, do away with the assumption that people know what to do with new technology. You’ll have employees who will spend their own time investigating how gadgets work, but not everyone is going to take an active interest and if you give someone a tool without the instructions, it’s not going to benefit them.
That goes for current technology too. Misuse of office technology can add hours to the working day. Far from improving productivity, if a technology’s potential isn’t maximised, there isn’t much point having it…it’s like using a MacBook just to send emails.
We may install a smartboard, for example, and while people may understand what it does, they might not think it is relevant to them. Give them proper training and it can open up ideas for how to use the tools in more adventurous ways.
Mind the knowledge gap
There’s certainly a knowledge gap where it comes to technology, and while various silver surfer courses cater for those unadjusted to using a mouse and sending email, the in-between knowledge is often forgotten. Technology is moving by the day, so make sure that your training keeps up. But that also means that no matter how much you try to future-proof our office, you can only go a certain distance, say, making it five-year proof.
On the other hand, some of the less tech-savvy employees’ anxieties can be quickly appeased by pointing out that really, a lot of the office will always be the same. A desk hasn’t changed, apart from size, for years. And for all the talk of entirely paperless offices, it hasn’t been embraced completely. The world isn’t going to change overnight, so neither should your office.
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