Sep 27, 2020

Helping Less Tech-Savvy Employees Transition to Remote Work

Some employees took to working from home during the pandemic like fish to water. They might have already had home offices with high-quality headsets and high-speed internet connections. However, others have had a more difficult time adjusting to the new normal with remote work.

While some jobs are easier to move remotely than others, many people have had to learn to adapt to the virtual office because of COVID-19. If some of your employees are struggling with the home office transition, there are a few ways you can help.

Train Team Members Frequently and Repeatedly

When you introduce new technology to your business, you likely hold training to help people understand the tools so they can use them effectively. However, your audience will forget the vast majority of what you say. 

As a rule of thumb, people will remember 60% of the information after 20 minutes and only 10% within a week. Even if your team members are learning by using the systems, they might not remember some of the key features—especially when they’re on their own at home.

Hold multiple training sessions on all new technology, even for employees who are seemingly more tech-savvy. These training sessions can reinforce some of your best practices and ensure everyone is comfortable using the new tech.  

Dedicate Someone to Assist With Technology

Many of your less tech-savvy employees might not want to ask for help because they feel like they would be bothering another team member. They may worry that their questions are too simple and will become annoying to their coworkers. This hesitation creates bottlenecks and problems because they are using the tools incorrectly or not at all. 

Identify someone to become the go-to for basic technology onboarding. This person could be a tech-savvy intern or someone from your IT department. The role of this employee will be to answer all questions related to the tools and help your team members as much as they can. This added resource may encourage your quieter employees to speak up and ask for help. 

Don’t Present Technology as a Short-Term Solution

When the pandemic first started, some people avoided using Zoom because they thought the lockdowns would end quickly. They thought the pandemic was temporary and the tech-based communication tool would be useless once they returned to the office. 

When introducing new technology, emphasize that this is not a short-term solution but rather a new process that the company is adapting—pandemic (remote) or not. Setting the expectation early will encourage employees to be proactive about learning how to use it, increasing your onboarding success. 

Break the Technology Into Smaller Pieces

Learning a new system can get overwhelming quickly, especially if you are looking for comprehensive tools that can support multiple departments and tasks. To prevent team members from getting confused, break the system up, and onboard employees to one part of it at a time. 

For example, you might only use one feature during a small project to help team members get comfortable logging into the system and familiarizing themselves with the interface. Slowly start rolling out new features on subsequent projects.

This process creates a flatter learning curve where team members can build upon what they already know instead of expecting people to learn about all of the features at once. 

Create Low-Stress Opportunities to Use Technology

The only thing worse than struggling with new technology is struggling when your job is on the line. If your employees have to use new software systems, new communication apps, and other tools, try to create safe opportunities for team members to test new tech and feel comfortable with it. 

For example, the first time someone uses Zoom shouldn’t be when presenting at a board meeting or receiving a performance review. 

You may want to set up some fun activities to use the tech to engage less tech-savvy employees. These activities could be social meetups through video calls or a thread about pets within Slack. This process creates a safe opportunity for your team members to begin using new technology without fear or judgment.

Incentivize Tech Adoption

Instead of using fear or force to encourage team members to learn new systems, find positive ways to motivate your staff to adopt new solutions. 

For example, create a time period for employee onboarding and training. Each team that onboards employees and reports that they are comfortable with the system could get a reward—either a virtual lunch hour paid for by the company or a Friday afternoon off.

Consider setting up an evaluation quiz that team members can take multiple times to prove their proficiency, and reward those who go above and beyond.  

Most of your employees will appreciate the effort you make to help them understand the new technology used within the company. As long as you and your managers are empathetic and patient with your employees, your less tech-savvy workers should feel safe asking questions and more comfortable trying new tools—even if they do make a few mistakes starting out.

About the author

Derek Miller
Derek Miller
Derek Miller is a writer specializing in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing. His work has featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp. He’s currently the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, and a marketing consultant for small businesses.

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