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tech·no·pho·bi·a

 –noun

abnormal fear of or anxiety about the effects of advanced technology.

In today’s high tech world you’d think that technophobia would be a thing of the past wouldn’t you? Doesn’t every business have a website and e-mail? The majority of them do, but I bet you’d be surprised at how many businesses aren’t utilizing current technology to it’s fullest potential. Overcoming the technophobia in the workplace isn’t always easy. Fear is a powerful thing. 

On what am I basing my statement above?  Experience. I was always known as the ‘resident computer geek’  by my former employers. If something wasn’t working the way they expected it to, a plaintive call could be heard emanating from one of their offices.  These very capable businessmen were brought to their knees by an e-mail program. And they hated it. Imagine how this colors their reaction to implementing more technology into their business?

I’m sure it’s not just my former employers. Many people have a fear of hitting the wrong button and destroying the computer.  But the actual chances of hitting a button with catastrophic results are minute.  A very wise man once told me, when dealing with computers, just about every mistake can be fixed. And it’s true. I’ve hit the panic button myself a few times, only to breath a sigh of relief when I found the answer to be as simple as using backup.* And then there is the fear the Internet.  So many people only pay attention to the horror stories of stolen identities and hacked websites and fail to ever learn about what a powerful business tool the Internet is.

Let’s use virtual assistance as an example.  The biggest resistance to a business hiring a virtual assistant in place of an in-house assistant?  The fact that they aren’t in-house.  Some business owners are suspicious of having someone outside of their office doing what traditionally was considered to be a strictly in-house position.  How are they going to know if that virtual assistant is really working on their project?  How are they going to get information to and from them? And what about privacy and security issues?

The answers to these questions and more are easily addressed by a knowledgeable virtual assistant. For example,  most Virtual Assistants use time tracking software, giving a minute by minute breakdown of that time spent on a clients projects.  And information?  Phone, fax, e-mail, text messaging and even instant messaging allows the client and VA to communicate as if they were in the same office.  And privacy and security?  The majority, if not all, virtual assistants abide by a Code of Ethics . Additionally, some virtual assistants, like Clerical Advantage, have experience working in industries where security and privacy were  a major requirement.  Now add the ability to transfer files via secure websites, encrypt data and access data securely from a remote location and you’ve actually got more security and privacy than you do with that in-house employee.  Conversations with a virtual assistant are private communications, can that be said about the majority of in-office conversations?

Overcoming technophobia is done the same way one overcomes any fear. Identify it, learn about it and change the way you think about it.  Before you know it you’ll be wondering what you were so afraid of.

 

 (*note: always, always, always backup. Your computer, your work…all of it).

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2 Comments

  1. Stephanie Adams on October 14, 2007 at 4:05 am

    Fantastic Article! My clients are afraid of identity theft while using me as a virtual assistant, but in reality, how do you know you can trust the people in office any more?



  2. Stephanie Adams on October 14, 2007 at 4:05 am

    Fantastic Article! My clients are afraid of identity theft while using me as a virtual assistant, but in reality, how do you know you can trust the people in office any more?



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