Technology is constantly changing and advancing. Along with an organisation’s workplace and processes, it plays a key role in unlocking business potential. If implemented correctly, digital transformation can revolutionise the workplace, saving employees time and helping to streamline everyday processes. And here’s how…

The first step on the journey is overcoming any fears or trepidation and taking the plunge to adopt new technology, whether it be hardware or software. Listening to employees will help them get the most satisfaction out of their working day, and digital innovation is part of this recipe for success. Putting your people first can give that extra impetus to be brave and take the first step towards change.

Once you’ve embarked on your road to change, there is, unfortunately, no guarantee of plain sailing. A few hiccups are to be expected within any process of change. These bumps in the road can be off-putting and make giving up during a challenging process look like a tempting option. Maintaining a techno-optimistic outlook will help you to stay focused on the end goal and persevere to achieve success.

Think of Monzo. We regularly see the unmistakable, bright coral cards, whether it’s on the underground station or in a coffee shop. Maybe you even have one yourself. Monzo has closed a fresh round of investor funding that now values the company at £2 billion. Although Monzo is now a part of everyday life and may appear to have found success overnight, the reality is that Monzo was initially met with resistance as a disruptor in a cynical industry. Monzo identified that the banking industry was in dire need of disruption and maintained their optimistic outlook and faith in the process, despite initial negative responses from both the industry and media back in 2015 when it launched as a pre-paid card seller. Monzo did not give up and remained focused on solving the problems they had identified. Embracing technological advances and the rise of the smartphone, the Monzo app offers customers a range of features to give them greater control over spending and savings, or even to analyse their habits. Fast forward to today and 55,000 people open a Monzo account every week and it is clear to see that their perseverance has paid off.

The moral of the story – change always takes time to prove successful. Having trust in the process is crucial to avoid the pitfall of a pre-emptive retreat, which can lead to giving up on the strategy if results are not seen immediately. Having an optimistic perspective allows leaders to see possibilities where others might simply see obstacles, adapting the strategy but not abandoning the goal. Companies of any size and any industry can harness a positive outlook to avoid this pitfall, giving their people time to adapt to new systems and supporting them with training.

Advances in technology can make our lives easier, and 57% of European workers believe that technology will make a four-day working week viable soon. The people behind the machines need to be on board for any change to be a success, or new technology can become more of a hindrance than a help. When it comes to introducing new technologies, leaders should encourage a culture of optimism, where employees feel positive about how these changes will impact their day-to-day. This should be backed up by making sure employees are always at the front of mind when making decisions about implementing new systems. Providing the appropriate level of training will make sure employees can get the most out of their new tools and understand how to best use them to suit their individual needs.

It is therefore key for leaders to employ a people-first approach, listening to their employees and supporting their employees throughout the process of transformation. 72% of employees across Europe say they want to contribute more to their work and implementing digital transformation can help them to do this. More specifically, 49% of employees believe that technology helps generate creative ideas, compared to only 21% of employers, which shows a significant gap between the views of leadership and executives. If employees feel that technology will help them in their work, leadership needs to take this as fuel for their optimism when implementing strategy across the company. In the long run, exponential technological growth means that businesses will need to constantly review and update systems as the latest advancements become available. Businesses must be optimistic about the continuous stream of new opportunities this will offer.

At Ricoh, we understand that to unlock their full potential, businesses need to evaluate how workplace, processes and technology are working for the business, always keeping people at the forefront of any decision. We call this ‘workstyle innovation’.

We have developed the Pathway to Productive People, three papers to help business leaders on their journey to bringing lasting, positive change to their companies. The first paper, Bravery, is all about taking that first step to making a change. The second, Optimism, offers advice on how to maintain an optimistic mindset to see change through. Finally, Impact looks at the importance for businesses in recognising the impact workstyle innovation can have, from optimal productivity to wider profitability.