If you thought technology moved at breakneck speed last year, we have bad news. It’s a new year and while we can’t totally predict the future, this one is guaranteed to move faster than the last. If your goal this year - or any time - is to be savvier with workplace technology, you are not alone. In fact, the majority of us are probably scratching our heads at apps like TikTok or wondering how AI works exactly.
When the desire to be more tech-savvy comes from general curiosity, it can feel low pressure and easy to explore. However, when you’re an office manager who needs to master new technologies in order to purchase, implement, manage, and monitor them, the learning curve can feel oppressive.
Fortunately, you can learn and there’s no better time than the present. What you want to learn about technology depends on how you’d like to use that knowledge. The chief use-cases for learning new technologies are usually to either, a) better command what you already have in the office, b) stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation, or c) become a more tech-savvy person for all seasons.
In this article, we’ll explore key tactics for all 3 intentions and equip you to keep up with changes in your workplace technology:
If You Want a Better Command of Current Workplace Technology:
- Observe intently
Watch how more savvy team members are using the software, tools, or devices in your office. Make mental notes of key patterns of usage, note the names of the things you use and explore those companies’ websites. If appropriate, try to complete similar tasks to those for which the technology is used.
- Use them yourself
You’ll see this repeated throughout, but hands-on experience is the best and most valuable experience when you’re trying to learn almost anything. Many people are afraid to explore new technologies for fear that they’ll “break” them or disrupt something. Unless you’re playing with code or physically damaging a piece of technology, overrides and fixes are usually in place to reset if something does go wrong. Also, most technology is created for common use by people just like yourself, who are new at first. Just try it.
- Connect with your technical colleagues
In 2020, nobody really wants to take time out of their workday for someone else to “pick their brain,” but if you build up authentic relationships with your tech-savvy team members, you might gain valuable insight. Bonus: building relationships is always a good thing!
- Secure training & support for the whole team
Want to learn more about a tool or piece of equipment but you’re a bit embarrassed to ask questions? Schedule a demo or training for you and your whole team. Those who don’t need it can always opt-out, but you’ll be surprised what even the savviest employees can learn from the experts in a particular medium.
If You Want to Be Ready for New Workplace Technology:
- Stay on top of personal technology
Office technology doesn’t always lead the charge. In fact, work tech often emerges on the backs of consumer tech. We used cellphones at home for years before they become pivotal to the corporate experience. Laptops were for home and desktops were for work, for a while. Eventually, we see the benefit of conveniences we’re building at home and we translate those to the workplace. Equally, you will find it difficult to stay abreast of work technology if you’re not staying informed on layman’s technologies that everyone uses. Start there.
- Commit to being tech-forward as a culture
If you and your team want to be innovators, you have to act like it! Read more, watch more videos, consume more of what’s going on in the world, react to it in marketing messages and online, talk about it in meetings, and generally make an effort to stay current. Review what tech you’re currently using and encourage anyone who wants a refresher course on that tech to join up for some lunch-and-learns. Build your reputation as a techie team by using and reviewing tools relevant to your work. Consider how you can imbue more tech into what you already do, to build better products, engage more efficiently with consumers, etc.
- Ask your people
Poll your consumers, partners, and vendors and find out what tools or tech everyone else is loving and using. Adopt the ones that sound beneficial as budget allows and always, always, always try the free ones. Some of your affiliates and colleagues may even have discounts or referral codes to help you save some coin!
- Attend tech events
If you want to immerse in the knowledge-base of a group of people, go where they go! Tech-based events don’t always have to be expensive nor over-your-head. Here’s a list of a few tech-centered events that novices and experts both love.
If You Want to Be More Tech-Savvy:
- Follow the enthusiasts
Whether socially or actually, join in conversations about technology. Curate your social feeds and the networking you do to focus on technology more specifically. Peruse Reddit forums, use apps like Discord and Telegram where tech is at the epicenter, and subscribe to some new YouTube channels about tech, too. The key here is to move beyond passive observation and listening. Really engage in these communities and ask your questions.
- Become an enthusiast
One of the best ways to integrate with a new culture, idea, or interest is to really become a fan and find reasons to get excited. What are the areas of your life and work that are powered by technology? Expressing gratitude for that, and maybe learning a few new quirks or tricks to optimize technologies you already use, is a gateway drug to getting excited about all new technologies.
- Dive in, head first
If you want to commandeer a specific type of technology this year, carry it with you everywhere. Perhaps automation is something your workplace is expanding this year and you’re curious about AI. Download some free AI apps, chat with AI bots when you can, and tap into the technology yourself. Don’t just read about it, engage with it.
Bonus Tip: Utilize Google to Help Keep Up with Changes in Workplace Technology
If you’re worried about your ability to use technologies you have in place now, understand new technologies, or even comprehend the latest tech and trends, Google it! You might have to look up words in the definition of other words you’re looking up, but you will find resources that help. Familiarity, even from a distance, will help you build confidence to actually engage with more tech this year.
Technology isn’t something that’s going away. It isn’t a niche interest or one that’s relegated to a specific class or type of people. You already use laptops, cell phones, and all the programs that power them, with relative ease. Take that mastery as a sign that you have just as much technical savvy as everyone else, and take this article as your sign to try something new.
Looking for a way to manage your office more efficiently? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your workplace.