When the COVID-19 pandemic forced life to shift online,modern tech was a saving grace. Team collaboration software allowed newlydistributed workforces to organize themselves, VPN provided access to workplace
networks, and Zoom calls covered everything from sales meetings to Yoga
The situation also showcased that cutting-edgetechnology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to boost businesses’ efficiency and productivity, especially during remote work.
The latest statistics indicate that distributed workforce models are here to stay. 93% of survey respondents stated that they are managing to cover their workload from home, and 60% prefer to do so. In another survey, 77% of managers stated that they were planning to maintain the same level of remote workforce engagement as during the pandemic - or even to
Given these trends, businesses are looking to seamlessly integrate AI and machine learning into their processes with maximum benefit - and to sustainably prepare for the remote work future. Here are five areas of application, and the best tools in each.
In hiring, AI can help managers make the best choices in filling roles. Traditionally, recruiting is a tedious process that involves rooting through a stack of (digital) resumes to try and filter out the best candidates. Not only does this take up massive amounts of managers’ time but it also often leads to suitable applicants being overlooked.
In contrast, AI can screen hundreds and even thousands of CVs for the most qualified and experienced candidates in a matter of minutes. Though some algorithm skewing inevitably remains, the process can also be used to counteract human bias, especially on gender and race. This will help businesses to not just find the best possible additions to their teams, but also to gain a reputation as forward-thinking.
Amongst the best tools currently available for these tasks are Seekout, Fetcher, and Hiretual. Leveraging AI, these platforms can source talent and build custom shortlists of candidates based on job descriptions.
When it comes to remote work productivity, AI can be used to monitor staff performance accurately and with minimal invasiveness.
From tracking platform usage to gathering survey-based staff feedback, AI tools are capable of gathering massive amounts of information. Based on this information, they produce nuanced and impartial performance reviews that offer a level of insight human management will struggle to replicate.
IBM’s flagship AI Watson has made Fortune headlines, with other solutions offered by TheHub.ai with their KYE product, NICE Performance Monitor, and Reflektive.
Among AI’s most futuristic and useful applications are digital assistants. Today, anyone can give AI assistants instructions on the fly, from scheduling meetings to following up on emails. Overall, these assistants save time and can help remote team members stay on track.
With the massive advances in AI voice recognition and natural language processing, these assistants can not just understand what their users are saying, they can even help improve their language in terms of emotional engagement, far beyond traditional spell
Some of these assistants, such as Siri and Cortana are already built into devices. However, for business applications, a more specialized tool can come in useful. Amazon was perhaps the first to offer one by launching Alexa for Business in 2017. Other solutions include Adenin’s Now Assistant and Digital Assistant, and IPsoft’s Amelia.
Recent reports suggest that within the next five years, AI will take over 30-50% of traditional shared service roles, including those in accounting. AI can help businesses stay on top of expenses and earnings - by recording receipts, automating processes, and periodically delivering in-depth, actionable reports.
Premier applications in this category include the Pegg chatbot, the SMB-focused Smacc, and a complete bookkeeping solution aptly named Botkeeper.
Overall, AI can be harnessed by remote team members to save time. Mind-numbingly monotonous tasks can be automated, and people are free to focus on the more challenging and creative aspects of their work. And as research has shown - it is exactly these creative productivity aspects that remote work benefits.
Far from fearing AI for potentially taking jobs away from people, the paradigm has shifted to companies harnessing its power. The end goal? To refocus the potential of remote teams, aid them in tedious tasks that could otherwise even impact their mental health, and increase overall
productivity at the same time.
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