With many organisations under intense economic pressure, it's common practice to have to think about changing the way we work. Reorganisations, takeovers, mergers, downsizings, and joint ventures are common, as companies try to adapt. And with these changes, come new challenges and demands as we learn to cope with new ways of working.

For many organisations dependent on using technology for daily tasks - and that's most of us - change is often ongoing as there is always going to be the necessity for a software upgrade to keep in line with clients, suppliers and competitors and gain the benefits of the developments in Office 2010, to increase your business' productivity.

However, any migration to new software is never without 'what ifs?'. And while the majority of us do not like change, not one of us can develop without changing. For many of us, change is hard. And as clich├ęd as that phrase sounds, in these challenging times with rapid changes in industry and the economy, changes to our job roles are part of everyday life. As the nature of business changes to incorporate more information-based work, the tools we require to work efficiently also need to be up to date - and that's where Office 2010 carries you seamlessly through any change in your Office software suite.

If you're upgrading from a previous version of Office, you will be delighted to know that Office 2010 retains most of the features found in previous versions. Outlook, for example, still encompasses Mail, Calendar and Task functions. Address and email information is still stored in a Contacts base.

However, the main difference in Office 2010 from some previous versions is the new ribbon. The ribbon has replaced the toolbar found in previous versions of Office, and enables you to quickly find commands for frequently used options. Some immediate differences are that some tools and options are no longer visible in the menu. These tools can be accessed via the new backstage view. On the ribbon, commands are organised into logical groups that are connected together under Tabs. To simplify things, some tabs, known as contextual tabs, are shown only when they are needed.

Another new feature for Microsoft Office 2010 is the Backstage View. This is accessed by clicking on the File tab at the top left of the Office toolbar. The file tab offers a number of important features, including Compatibility Mode: if you open a document created in a previous version of Word, it will open in Compatibility Mode.

In Compatibility Mode, Office ability is limited to that of previous versions of Office, however you can easy covert it to Word 2010 and thereby enable the new functions. To do this, click the file button. At the top of the screen you will see a message indicating that you are in Compatibility Mode. You will also notice a convert button. On clicking the covert button, a message is displayed extolling that the document will be converted to the newer file format. The old document will then be replaced by the newer Office 2010 version.

It is helpful to know that the Office 2010 extension for all office documents has changed. For example, previous versions of Word had the .doc extensions, whereas new Word documents now have .docx. If you are sharing files with a third party, it's probably worth having files in the older format to ensure compatibility.

It's good practice to remember that this might be a problem when using PowerPoint and previous versions of Office. PowerPoint 2010 includes a greater variety of SmartArt and colour schemes not found in previous versions. Obviously it's important that your presentation is going to be compatible with the version of PowerPoint that will be on the machine being used to run your presentation.

Some functions are now more logical to use. For example in Word, you can use the insert tab to include headers and footers in your document. If adding charts in Excel, click insert, then choose the sub tab required. In Word, the page layout tab offers access to margins, watermarks, indentation and spacing.

The Quick Access toolbar displays a small selection of the more commonly used commands in Word 2010 in the top left hand corner of the application window. By default, the quick access toolbar includes, save, undo, and redo commands, but it can be customised to include other commands. To add commands to the toolbar, simply click on the Quick Access toolbar icon, just to the right of all the icons. Alternatively, you can right click on any icon and add it to the Quick Access toolbar.

If you are still concerned that you will not be able to find your favourite menu and toolbar commands in Office 2010, then stop worrying right now.

Microsoft 2010 offers you the chance to use an interactive guide to find commands. Information is available on the Microsoft web page for Microsoft Office 2010. You can learn where menu and toolbar commands are and access a whole array of interactive guides to show you where your favourite menu and toolbar commands are located in Office 2010. Just click the command or button that you want to find and the guide will show you its location in the 2010 version of the program. To download a single guide to your own computer for use any time you like (even when you're not connected to the Internet), click the Open the guide link and when the guide opens, click the Install button. After you install this way, you'll be able to run the guide from the Start menu or from your desktop

Or you can get a printable list of Office 2010 commands and buttons. If you would like to have a comprehensive list of all menu and toolbar commands and their new locations, download and open the menu-to-ribbon reference workbook for your product. All of these open as Microsoft Excel workbooks, so you'll need to have a version of Excel on your computer to use them.

If you're still hesitant about changing to Office 2010, remember that one of the most vital components of any change programme is a that is shared by everyone, clearly demonstrated, and simple: don't overcomplicate your vision but develop a logical set of steps to help achieve it. Use every possible medium to communicate the technology change you are about to embark on. Remind everyone of the ideals, foundations and inspiration behind the decision to upgrade. Communicate updates about the transition to the wider employee population by organising face-to-face briefings; sending regular email updates; creating a dedicated intranet site; and running specific team meetings.

Remember that the people who will be most affected by the change are those most likely to identify potential obstacles or problems. These are the people who should be able to make suggestions for improvement. It is, therefore, essential that you ask for their input before the change initiative starts, and regularly get their feedback throughout the roll out of the new software.

By following these simple steps, you will ensure that you're ready for the transition to Office 2010 and that each member of the team feels confident and happy about using these exciting new tools.