Women Love Tech: How to Adapt to New Workplace Technologies - Michelle Gibbings

In this exclusive article for Women Love Tech, Michelle shares her insights on how to adapt to new workplace technology.

Be curiously adaptive

Every day, news sources share stories about the AI future, and depending on which side of the divide you sit on, this technological shift will either ruin workplaces or be a productivity bonanza.

Undoubtedly, AI and robotics will impact the type of work that Chiefs of Staff do. So, the classic behavioural trait of ignoring the change and thinking (or perhaps hoping) it will go away isn’t a good strategy. The best approach is to be curiously adaptive.

Embrace the benefits

The working day is busy, yet it is not always effective or productive.

Research has highlighted that many people spend 25% or more of their work time on low-value or inefficient activities.

Using AI-powered large language models, such as Chat GPT, Google’s Gemini or Microsoft Co-Pilot (to name just a few), provides avenues to eliminate or reduce routine tasks Chiefs of Staff might do. This opportunity creates potential capacity for you to undertake more creative and connected work.

Be selective

Technology aids productivity when its purpose is clear, and it is integrated into a business’s workflow. You want to be selective and adopt a fit-for-purpose approach.

Start by considering how you can integrate these tools into your working day. As part of this, look for opportunities where these tools save time and improve processes and output.

Get playing

Research from Snaplogic found that 72% of Australians welcomed AI’s use in their role. However, 34% of respondents felt that very few people in their organisation had the skills to implement and adopt AI.

The good news is that these tools are easy to use, and the best way to learn is to explore. Give yourself time to play with the technology to test the boundaries. You will learn by testing what it can and can’t do.

For example, you may have a report to write or an email to respond to. You can use the tool to create an initial draft or framework for the response.

If the tool is integrated into your basic suite of applications, you can use it to schedule meetings, coordinate team activities, summarise documents and produce meeting notes.

In each situation, try it, test it and refine your approach.

Learn and refine

The success of using these tools lies in how you write the request, or what’s known as a ‘prompt’. Be clear and precise about structuring the text. The better your prompt is structured, the better the response you will get from the AI tool.

Professor Ethan Mollick at Wharton University suggests that good prompts use simple language, avoid technical jargon, and are conversational in tone and specific.

It often helps to use a series of prompts to help refine your request.

Share insights

Leverage your Chief of Staff network to share ideas about how you are using these tools and what’s working well.

Building and gathering ideas from your peers will accelerate how you use these tools wisely and successfully.

Know the difference

Not everything can be outsourced to technology, nor would you want to.

Technology is excellent with processes but not with emotions and connection. A robot can’t connect, show compassion or provide the emotional support humans need to thrive.

That ‘special sauce’ that makes you unique in your Chief of Staff role becomes even more critical in the age of AI.

Focus on creating deep relationships with your boss, colleagues and stakeholders. Good relationships take time, meaning every investment in connecting matters.

Build Switch-off Routines

Use technology mindfully to resist the temptation to blur the boundaries. Consider establishing specific times or places where you disconnect entirely.

You want to avoid letting technology run your day, so set boundaries about how and when you use it.

Find Your Learning Edge

Lastly, the quest for knowledge and understanding never ends, particularly in a world of increasing complexity and constant technological change.

As part of this, strive to be flexible, resilient, and adaptable so you are ready for whatever comes next, even when the future is unpredictable.

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