New technologies often have the potential to save time and streamline operating procedures at the office. For administrative professionals, who often carry out tasks for a variety of people, it can be difficult to integrate new tools without total workflow disruption. By planning carefully, you can handle the transition without dropping the ball on any of your responsibilities.
When it comes to integrating new technologies into an existing workflow, timing is everything. If possible avoid choosing a time that you know will be busy. If you support executives, consider selecting a period when one or more of them is out of town on a business trip. In doing so, you can avoid creating problems and causing bottlenecks.
In the weeks or days leading up to the workflow integration, communication is key. Make a list of the people who depend on you for support and let them know what you're up to. Inform them about potential delays and request that they give you as much notice as possible for time-sensitive tasks. In many cases, this small courtesy can make your colleagues more forgiving if your new technologies cause slower response times. By giving them at least two weeks' notice, you'll make it easier for them to make alternate arrangements if necessary. And, if your colleagues are required to integrate the tools into their own workflows, this buffer gives time for them to learn to use the technology.
Before you drop new technologies into your daily workflow, take time to map out the process. List any potential difficulties and plan at least one way to handle each one. If you're used to using a physical filing system, for example, moving to a cloud-based system is going to take time. In the meantime, you may need to create a temporary filing solution. This small step helps you organize the transition and anticipate problems before they happen. If your new technologies have the potential to impact other people in the company, bring them into the workflow integration process. Ask for feedback on your plan and invite them to offer suggestions for the transition. In doing so, Startup Nation suggests that you'll be able to spot employees who are averse to new technology and make plans accordingly.
The most difficult part of adding a new tool to your workflow is the initial integration. During the first days, expect delays and disruptions to your normal operations. Don't expect to get all of your usual tasks completed on time; this expectation can increase your stress level and make the process more difficult than it has to be. By giving yourself time to get accustomed to the new technology, you'll be able to learn it quickly without the pressure of pending tasks.
The process of adding new technologies to your workflow requires that you exercise patience and flexibility. By planning ahead and keeping your colleagues informed about your progress, you can reduce stress and head off potential problems before they derail or delay the project.
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