Bizness at (Home) Work: Embracing technology and learning in the new norm

We’ve all been forced into this new way of working — meetings, events, and even celebrations held virtually. While this has been a challenge for many, I believe it also has been an eye opener for how we can work smarter. How we can take some of what we’ve been forced to adapt to and transform the way we work forever. I envision many people, businesses, and organizations returning to work, sitting down as a group, and thinking about the lessons learned and what we can do differently (and smarter).

Let’s be thankful for technology! If this pandemic would have occurred five or even three years ago, the technology wouldn’t have been as advanced. We still would have tools available, such as Google Hangouts, but Zoom was just starting to make traction and Microsoft Teams didn’t exist yet. The experience today is more intuitive and the collaborative tools available have become much easier to use, with new features being added daily.

Those who may have been resisting new technology are now embracing it. Our team launched Microsoft Teams two years ago, when it was fairly new. Implementing new technology organization-wide always comes with change management challenges. The adoption started off slow and some staff quickly embraced it, while others found the tool to be confusing and/or clunky at best. The good news is that when we decided to begin working entirely remotely in light of COVID-19, we were able to quickly transition within 48 hours. The availability of new collaborative tools made that shift much less burdensome for our team. Additionally, those who did embrace the technology early on were able to assist others as well.

What now? While your work clothes are collecting dust in the closet and your new favorite work shoes are now your favorite slippers, or your once fabulous hair is turning colors like fall leaves – remember to not only embrace, but educate yourself on the technology that has allowed you to be connected in this new virtual world. Take the time to not just use the tools, but learn how to use them most efficiently. Whether it is Google, Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., there are many free resources available and you can find some of those resources linked below. Also, when you do learn something new – share that knowledge with others. For example I do a daily tech tip for all staff – it is a quick video tutorial no more than 2 to 3 minutes on a new feature for one of our platforms.

So when you do return to work and are reflecting on lessons learned and how you can now work smarter – hopefully you will continue to not just embrace technology but take the time to educate yourself as well.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay educated.

Learning Resources:
https://support.google.com/a/users/?hl=en
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/enduser-training
https://slack.com/resources/slack-101
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

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Ann is the IT Manager for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation where she has worked for the past 18 years, she most recently has served on the board of the Community Media Center and is on the board for a national organization, Technology Association of Grantmakers. She has an Associate of Arts degree from Grand Rapids Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ferris State University.
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