Overcoming Fears of Tech: Strategies to Implement Workplace Automation
Technology is constantly evolving, and with it, the way we work. New innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) can be powerful tools for businesses, but they can also be a source of fear for employees.
Employees might be afraid of automation for several possible reasons. Some people worry that robots will take human jobs, others worry that they will not be able to keep up with the pace of change, and some worry that automation will make their jobs less fulfilling. Even content writers and similar workers worry about their jobs being taken by AI (check out this blog to learn why marketers shouldn’t be worried about ChatGPT).
Whatever the reason, fear of automation is a real and understandable concern. However, it is important to remember that automation is not the enemy; robots and AI are tools that can be used for good (or for bad 😈). The key is to implement and use new technology in a way that benefits both employees and businesses.
Here are a few strategies for overcoming the fear of automation and bringing automation to your workplace:
1. Education and Communication
One of the most effective ways to overcome the fear of technology is through education and open communication. Provide your employees with clear and concise information about the benefits of the new technology you bring in and how it will affect them. Explain how automation can enhance their work, reduce repetitive tasks, and create new opportunities for professional growth. Address their concerns and encourage an open dialogue to foster understanding and dispel myths surrounding automation.
2. Start with Small Steps
Introducing robots can be overwhelming, especially for employees who are resistant to change. Start small by implementing new technology in non-critical or less complex tasks. This allows employees to experience the benefits of automation firsthand and gradually build trust in the technology. As they see the positive impact on their work, they will become more open to embracing innovation in other areas.
3. Provide Training and Support
Lack of knowledge and skills can contribute to the fear of technology. Technical training will teach employees how to use the new tools that will be used in the workplace. Soft skills training will teach employees how to work effectively with automation, such as how to manage their time and how to communicate with their colleagues. Thorough training will empower employees to adapt to the changing technological landscape and build confidence in their abilities to work with new tools.
4. Foster a Culture of Innovation
Create a work environment that encourages innovation and experimentation. When employees feel supported and encouraged to explore new technologies and processes, they are more likely to overcome their fear of technology. Recognize and reward innovative ideas and initiatives, and showcase success stories that highlight the positive impact of automation on individuals and on the organization as a whole.
5. Highlight the Human Element
Emphasize the complementary nature of automation and human skills. Make it clear that automation is not about replacing employees but about augmenting their abilities. This will show employees how robots, AI, and other tools can free up their time to focus on more meaningful, strategic, and creative tasks that require human judgment, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. By showcasing the unique value that humans bring to the workplace, you can alleviate fears and foster a sense of collaboration between humans and technology.
6. Address Job Security Concerns
Job security is a significant fear associated with robots. It is important to address these concerns transparently; provide reassurance that automation is aimed at improving efficiency and productivity, not at eliminating jobs. New technology sometimes creates room for new roles and opportunities within an organization. Offer retraining or upskilling programs to help employees transition into these new roles. By demonstrating a commitment to employee growth and development, you can alleviate fears about job security.
Automation can be a powerful tool for businesses, but it is important to use it in a way that benefits both employees and businesses. By following the strategies above, you can overcome the fear of automation and bring automation to your workplace in a way that benefits everyone.
Applying These Strategies with Breezy Blue Disinfecting Minibots
Breezy Blue is a disinfecting minibot that fogs Breezy BioCare RTU Disinfectant to remove over 99.9% of pathogens (plus, it eliminates odors). Implementing new technology such as these automated foggers is a process, but these strategies have helped our customers integrate Breezy Blue into their daily custodial workflows. Here’s how:
Education and Communication: Build With Robots can provide informative documents upon request to educate workers on Breezy Blue. While custodians definitely need manuals and training, other staff members, such as teachers and health care providers, should be informed on what is happening in their workplace and whether the fog will affect their computers, papers, and other items. (Spoiler alert: we use a mild disinfectant and a dry fog that leaves no residue, so everything appears untouched but germ-free.)
Start with Small Steps: Some facilities opt to put a Breezy Blue unit in every room, but that is not always how it starts. Purchasing one Breezy Blue Starter Kit allows custodial teams to start small with one minibot and decide later if they want more.
Provide Training and Support: Breezy Blue is relatively easy to use, and deployments are typically done by a Build With Robots representative or distributor. Build With Robots also provides manuals, video tutorials, and 24/7 phone support based in the US.
Foster a Culture of Innovation: Having a Breezy Blue fogger in several rooms or in every room is a constant reminder that technology is advancing. This could inspire other employees to look for similar tools that they can use.
Highlight the Human Element: Breezy Blue is a disinfecting fogger, not a cleaning robot. People often get confused, but the purpose of the minibot is to make disinfecting quicker. When disinfecting only takes 30-45 seconds, custodians gain more time for their other tasks.
Address Job Security Concerns: Breezy Blue only does one thing: disinfecting. Custodians, on the other hand, are responsible for many tasks. The little minibot cannot replace a person, but it should make their jobs a little easier and safer.
Overcoming the fear of technology takes time and effort, but it is essential. When technology is not accepted, workers leave useful tools behind. It is important for workers to know that embracing automation is not about replacing humans; it's about leveraging technology to empower people, enhance their work, and drive organizational success in the digital age.
By taking these steps, you can help employees overcome their fear of automation and embrace the opportunities that it presents.