Q: Our team has been working pretty effectively from home since mid-March. We’ve found ourselves having to learn a lot of new technology on the fly, which is easy for the younger members and more challenging for the older workers.
Overall the team has found some of the “working-remotely” tech helpful and now that we’re going back to the office we’ll continue using the applications that allowed us to collaborate on documents, and share our screens. The problem is the older staff have technology fatigue and just want things to return to the old way. How can I help them come along?
A: One of the outcomes of this pandemic requiring all of us to stay home, is that it has forced us to utilize technology we could have otherwise happily avoided. Even in our personal lives, we’ve seen relatives having to learn about Zoom or Facebook livestream in order to attend religious services or visit with family.
Workers (of all ages) who had been reluctant to learn new technology before the pandemic, had no choice but to adapt if they wanted to work. In some ways, the quarantine also provided plenty of time and patience to practice.
You mention technology fatigue as an obstacle, but I would venture to say it’s more like general fatigue at how everything about our lives has changed. It’s no wonder some workers want things to stay the same. But, a lot of the technology is here to stay so, here’ how I would encourage your older staff to “come along”:
Create a tech-buddy system
Pair your reluctant boomer with a tech-savvy -but patient- whipper-snapper for guidance and support. Sometimes what’s scary about technology is thinking you have to figure it out on your own. Knowing they have a “help-line” available will lower anxiety. Bonus: you might create a special bond between the two.
Use the technology routinely
When an app or a program is used all the time, it’s self-enforcing. Routine foments comfort. For example, if you choose to continue collaborating thru document sharing then do so consistently, not just for special projects. It’s easier for an employee to invest the effort to learn something if they know it’s going to be used all the time.
Before you know it, they will have “come along”.