Modern Times: Why newsrooms can't wait to replace old tech.

AuthorPhares, Doug

As we all keep going and the pandemic drags on, there's a temptation to just "hang in there" until normal comes back around. But as many people are realizing, normal isn't coming back. The events of the pandemic have forever changed the ways that we live and work. And while that isn't wholly good or bad news, it does mean that you need to make accommodations for life as it is right now, not how you expect it will be in six months or a year.

The biggest area where I see people getting hung up is with their process. So many of our tools and practices were built around a mass of people engaging inside office buildings. With all the stresses we have been under, the last thing on your mind is a protracted system replacement process. And further, no one wants to spend money on hardware or programs that may only be temporarily useful. However, the unfortunate reality of this situation is that your team is likely running into hidden problems that slow them down. And those problems need to be addressed now rather than being put on the backburner in an indefinite wait for a return to normalcy.

We've had six-or-so months in a new environment, so what isn't working? If you're still working remotely, as many of us are, what current tech solutions do you have that could be removed or replaced? If much of your staff has returned to the workplace, how are they functioning differently? Look deeply; this could be a good time to dump some legacy systems or consolidate into a simpler, cloud-based option. Certainly your team is using new tools to adjust to the current climate, but there's a real possibility that the new tools are overly burdensome or redundant. And if that's the case, then you want to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Ask your team what tech really works for them, and what tech they're using because you've asked them to. Six months ago, we all had to make snap, immediate changes to adjust to entirely new working environments.

And even if certain programs or tools made it possible to get here, that doesn't mean there isn't something else that can save your team time, money, and a lot of headaches. I recently talked to one veteran sales manager who returned to basic "call" sheets as the CRM system they had just couldn't adapt to distributed work life. Sure, he said it seemed backwards, but also that it was simple and "just worked for us."

If you're not sure how to broach the topic with your team, try a simple hypothetical: If everything stays...

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