The powers that be have decided they’re going to update that ancient software program that everyone in the office hates. You know, the one that causes regular colorful outbursts and forced early retirement? It’s finally going to be gone!
But as more and more emails with the words “software conversion” pile up in your inbox, you begin to realize this thing is less like Superman coming to save the day and more like a meteorite heading straight for your office. You start to panic, wondering how your workflow is going to be interrupted and how hard it’s going to be to use this new software. The old software isn’t that bad, right?
Sip your latte, close that Indeed tab in your browser, and keep reading. You got this.
Realize that office technology is constantly changing
And that’s a good thing. Outdated software is often not as secure as newer software, and older versions may not be supported anymore. Using up to date software saves time and money. Think of your own experiences with new technology, like the sleek, shiny new smartphone you bought. Sure, it was a little intimidating at first, but after a couple of weeks, you wouldn’t dream of going back to your old brick. Your selfie game is on point with that new camera!
Have reasonable expectations for the conversion
Going into a software conversion, remember to have reasonable expectations. Is it going to be a miraculous cure-all that even keeps the office microwave clean? Probably not, but the new software has been chosen for a reason; its features best match up with what your company needs and it’s going to solve more problems than it creates.
If you can provide input into the choice of new software, make it a point to be part of that conversation. After all, you as the end-user can give valuable input into what isn’t working with the current software as well as what the new software needs to be able to do.
Get familiar with the new software before it goes live
Attend every training opportunity possible leading up to the roll-out. This may mean online, teleconference, or classroom training. Familiarizing yourself with the software will make it easier to use once it’s been implemented. Do your best to attend every module that is offered, even if it’s to learn something that you don’t currently do in the old software. Learning the new software in and out can lead to opportunities for you down the road.
Show up when the software goes live
When the official roll-out date arrives, don’t panic! As tempting as it is to book a flight to Cozumel and return once the dust settles, that’s not what you want to do. Okay, you’re right, running away is exactly what you want to do, but you won’t be doing yourself or your team any favors. It’s going to be much easier if you are there when the software goes live. Plan your schedule around the conversion date. Try not to take time off or schedule appointments a few days before and a couple of weeks after the planned roll-out.
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Be patient on the big day~root~>
When the new software goes live, remember, change is hard for everyone, and it can bring out the worst in people. Try to give everyone a little extra breathing room and be patient. Some things may not work right at first. The larger the company, the greater the likelihood there will be bugs to be worked out. Everything will get sorted out in the end. You are all learning something new, and that takes time and practice. Expect that you are all going to make mistakes.
Take time to care for yourself
When you are stressed, it’s easy to push self care to the back-burner, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Be sure to get plenty of sleep. During the first week or two after the new software roll-out consider going to bed an hour earlier and limiting evening screen-time to get plenty of rest. Don’t worry; Instagram will still be there. Stay hydrated; even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches. Take time during the day to get away from your desk by going for a walk on your lunch break. The change of scenery and fresh air is a great way to recharge mid-day. Plan a relaxing activity immediately after work to create a smooth segue into your evening routine. Meditate or exercise, get a massage, or read a book. It’s important to mitigate the extra stress that you will be dealing with.
Ask for help after the software conversion
After the conversion, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Depending on the size of your organization, you will either have a dedicated support specialist, or there will be support offered through the software company itself. Use these resources to your advantage. These folks know their stuff, and they are there to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.
Take part in post-conversion feedback
When it’s all said and done, be sure to take part in any surveys or post-conversion discussions. Like we said earlier, technology is always changing, so it’s likely that you will have to learn your fair share of new software during your career. Your feedback can be invaluable when it comes time for the next big software shake-up. Noting things that went well or areas in which improvements should be made will help make the next conversion go smoother.
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After a couple of weeks working with the new platform, take a day off, or plan to do something to reward yourself. It was tough, but you made it through without smashing your computer, so yeah, binge-watching the entire first season of that new show in your pajamas is an acceptable reward! Being flexible and dealing with change is an important skill in the workplace. But keeping your sanity during these changes is even more important.