How to Conquer Tech Shaming in Your Office

Office worker supporting a colleague using technology.

Ever walked into an office where the generation gap is as visible as a 60-inch LED monitor? Or caught a smirk when a graduate struggled with the seemingly archaic fax machine? It has a name. HP refer to it as Tech Shaming. And you’re not alone


The question is: Why do we belittle each other over technological competence? 


Tech Shaming: A Closer Look


In this article, we take a closer look at the phenomenon known as Tech Shaming. We’ll even share a blueprint for tech integration in offices and workplaces throughout the country.


Let’s start by meeting Gen Z Tim. Tim is grappling with the old-world charm of printers, eyes darting from tray to buttons, desperately hoping to avoid any embarrassing slip-ups. 


Right across the table, there’s Sandra from the bygone era of floppy disks, breaking a sweat trying to collaborate on Google Docs. A mirthful chuckle, a not-so-subtle eye roll – sound familiar? 


Is this the ‘new normal’? Do we really want it to be?


Let’s face it. Technology is evolving, and with it, the workplace landscape is undeniably changing. 


While we marvelled at the prodigies of the internet age, we’ve been somewhat naive. Didn’t we all secretly hope that Gen Z would ride into our offices on a wave of technological prowess? What went wrong?


What is Tech Shaming?

Tech shaming is the act of making someone feel ashamed or embarrassed for not being able to use technology. It can happen in any setting, but it is most common in the workplace. Tech shaming can be subtle or overt, and it can take many forms, such as:


  • Making fun of someone for not knowing how to use a particular piece of software or hardware.
  • Rolling your eyes or sighing loudly when someone asks for help with a tech problem.
  • Implying that someone is incompetent or lazy for not being able to figure something out on their own.
  • Withholding help or support from someone who is struggling with a tech issue.


Tech shaming can have a number of negative consequences, including:


  • Making people less likely to ask for help when they need it.
  • Increasing stress and anxiety levels.
  • Damaging self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Creating a hostile and unsupportive work environment.


How Big a Problem is it?


Dell Technologies’ revelation that a whopping 56% of young respondents felt they had limited digital education is a wake-up call. Furthermore, one in five young professionals feels judged for tech issues. 


That’s not just a number; it’s a silent cry for change! 


Think about it: How many bright minds are we losing to this silent epidemic of tech shaming?


Tech Shaming: The Heart of the Matter


Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. This isn’t just about ‘getting with the times’; it’s about fostering an environment where learning and growth are encouraged, not stifled. Why not make it a team effort? Instead of pointing fingers, could we extend a helping hand? 


Remember, technological prowess isn’t limited to the younger generation. Digital proficiency is a contemporary necessity, akin to basic reading and writing. And let’s be clear: just because someone’s a digital native doesn’t mean they’re proficient across the board. 


Social media savviness doesn’t automatically equate to creating pivot tables in Excel.


Tech Shaming: Step Up, Employers!


For employers, it’s high time to step up. 


Got new hires? A quick crash course on your tech tools is a no-brainer. Long-standing employees? How about periodic refresher sessions? Digital literacy isn’t one-size-fits-all; it’s a continuum.


And everyone deserves an opportunity to progress.


Consider the 2030 Workforce Report. Digital skills aren’t a luxury; they’re paramount. And while the ghost of automation does lurk in the shadows, the real challenge isn’t machines replacing us – it’s about joining forces with them


So, employers, isn’t it about time to prioritise upskilling?


Changing the Game: From Tech-Shaming to Tech-Training


Here’s an idea. Let’s swap tech shaming for tech training


Instead of chuckling at Sandra’s Google Docs conundrum, why not set up a quick tutorial? 


Tim’s printer ordeal? Perhaps an ‘Old Tech 101’ session could do the trick.


We’re entering an era where the future demands a blend of digital, cognitive, and interpersonal skills. The fifth industrial revolution beckons, and the question is: are we prepared? 


The Universality of Tech Challenges


No matter where you stand – from the bustling hubs of Silicon Valley to the quiet accounting firms of the Midlands, from established corporations in Tokyo to startups in Nairobi – technological proficiency is not a given. 


Have you ever pondered the array of sectors and roles where technology has seeped in? It’s not just the IT expert or the software developer; it’s the nurse updating patient records, the teacher leveraging e-learning tools, the craftsman exploring e-commerce. 


And in each of these scenarios, there’s a learning curve to be mastered.


In 2017, a survey from a study from Goldsmiths, University of London, and YouGov revealed that 49% of employees feel anxiety when introduced to new workplace technology


This statistic isn’t just a number. It’s a testament that spans continents, industries, and job roles. And if you dive deeper into the data, the realms of healthcare, education, and small businesses show the steepest learning curves.


Bridging the Digital Divide


Tech hurdles are everywhere, and they’re more common than you’d think. A report by PwC showed that nearly 63% of workers believe they’ve faced some form of ‘tech discrimination’ at their workplace, whether due to age, gender, educational background, or industry shifts.


Tech Shaming: Our Blueprint for Tech Integration in Workplaces


Sure, saying “Let’s train everyone!” sounds uplifting, but what does that really entail? 


For businesses, big or small, here’s a blueprint to consider:


  1. Tailored Workshops: One-size-fits-all? That’s yesterday’s news. How about segmenting employees based on their tech proficiency levels and tailoring workshops to their needs? Think ‘Basics of CRM’ for sales teams or ‘Leveraging E-commerce’ for traditional retailers.
  2. Peer-to-Peer Learning: Encourage an environment where employees can learn from each other. Maybe Carla from marketing is a whiz at Photoshop and can offer tips to the design team. Or perhaps Jack from finance has mastered the latest data analytics tool and can show the ropes to the HR team for predictive analysis.
  3. Industry Collaborations: Partner with tech firms or institutions offering digital literacy modules. This not only brings in external expertise but also provides employees with a fresh perspective.
  4. Feedback Mechanisms: After every training, obtain feedback. Understand what clicked, and what didn’t, and iterate. A continuous feedback loop ensures that the learning process remains dynamic and effective.


By weaving in diverse examples, underpinned by statistics and action points, we make the narrative not just compelling but also universally relatable. Because in this digital age, everyone deserves a seat at the table. Everyone deserves to be tech-empowered.

The Path Ahead


Here at Evolve Document Solutions, we talk to customers about new tech every day. Perhaps more than anyone else, we understand how a little patience and clear communication can transform office efficiency, productivity and morale. 


It’s time to change the narrative. 


It’s not about phasing out; it’s about evolution. The digital realm is vast, filled with wonders and challenges alike. So, when a colleague stumbles, why mock when we can mentor?


Tech-blaming? Toss it out of the window. Technology isn’t the enemy; it’s the ally. It’s not about replacing but elevating. As businesses, let’s focus on honing talent that complements digital advancements, not competing with them.


After all, in a world intertwined with tech, isn’t it better to build bridges than walls? 


Let’s pave the way together!