How Overcoming ‘Technophobia’ Helps Facilities Managers

by Elizabeth Dukes on January 9, 2014

One main problem that facilities managers face is “technophobia” – in short, reluctance from some people to embrace new computerized solutions they’re not familiar with.

Embracing Technology That Can Improve Facility Management

Facilities departments today have countless reasons to introduce new software packages around the office. Doing so can help them optimize their workspace, improve efficiency, track data better and ultimately improve workforce productivity. Unfortunately, though, implementing new facilities management solutions isn’t always easy.

One main problem that facilities managers face is “technophobia” – in short, reluctance from some people to embrace new computerized solutions they’re not familiar with. When you roll out new software, you’re likely to encounter a wide variety of reactions. Some people will embrace the new way of doing work, but the technophobes will resist it. Your job, though it might be challenging, is to get all of these people to come together.

According to FM World, it’s hard to change the minds of the technophobic, but it’s not impossible. Iain Maclachlan, an independent consultant who advises FM companies on implementing new technology, says it must be done. When you roll out a new solution, you need everyone on board.

“A well-run project that takes into account all the concerns of the end users and fully engages them in the decision-making process will lead not only to a successful outcome but can strengthen the employees’ commitment both to their own job function and to the overall aim and aspirations of the organization,” Maclachlan writes.

With that in mind, you should set out to defeat technophobia. Here are a few tips that should help.

Connect with people early

If you want everyone on your team to be on board with your new software solution, you should make sure to engage with people early and often. Be sure to communicate with the team as soon as possible about the software you’re deploying, what it does, and how it will be an improvement over the old system. You should also provide a forum for people to share their questions, comments and concerns. This might take the form of face-to-face meetings, email bulletins or chats via social media. In any event, people need an outlet to discuss any problems they might have with new technology.

Start from the bottom up

There are two different ways to unveil a new solution. One is the “top-down push,” where you start with the people who are most eager to accept change, and then let the rollout trickle down from there. The other approach is the opposite – going from the bottom up. The latter will probably work better. This way, you tackle the toughest technophobes first, and the rollout becomes easier as you move up the ladder to people who are more and more accepting.

Train people effectively

If you want people to accept your new technology, you must train them well to use it. Once your employees feel comfortable you will notice a positive change in your FM team. Robert Heverly, assistant director of Albany Law School’s Government Law Center, told the Albany Business Review, that teaching well is the best solution to people’s reluctance. 

“Getting employees over their technophobia is essential to remaining competitive in the modern marketplace,” Heverly stated. “Using training, giving employees an opportunity to learn about the new technologies, supporting them in that use, and committing the entire office to the new technology may help employees jump the phobia hurdle and help your office move to the front of the technology-use pack.”

Stay continually engaged

Keeping people aware of new technology is not a one-time project. You can’t just introduce a new solution and then walk away – you need to continually engage with people. It should be an ongoing effort to make sure people understand the software, know how to use it and are able to maximize productivity.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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