AI is the Key to a Successful Hybrid Workplace

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4 minute read

Support employee productivity anywhere, at any time, with Conversational AI and Intelligent Automation.

The picture of the post-COVID workplace is in sharper focus. Although some organizations expect their employees to return to the office full-time, and others have closed their offices indefinitely, the hybrid workplace is proving to be the most common model, with some companies going so far as to allow employees to choose how often they work in the office and at home.

The popularity of the hybrid workplace model is evident in the results from a survey conducted by Zippia, which found that nearly three quarters of U.S. companies have implemented, or plan to implement, a “permanent hybrid work model.” Within the technology industry, Deloitte found that an astounding 86% of US tech leaders expect to shift to a hybrid working model (although there are emerging signs that some companies are backing off those commitments just a bit).

What was once a perk offered by organizations to differentiate themselves from competitors is now a necessity for business, in some form. As droves of workers seek out employers with a hybrid workplace model, companies that refuse to change tactics risk “increased turnover,” according to Gartner.

However, simply allowing employees to choose where they want to work is not sufficient for a successful hybrid workplace, nor is it sustainable. For hybrid workplaces to flourish, employees need the right tools and resources to help them work from anywhere. Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021 found that most workers (83%) “prefer the hybrid work model, but a variety of factors influence their ability to thrive, whether they’re onsite or off.” Accenture recommends that organizations consider the resources employees need to succeed in this new model, such as mature digital solutions.

While many organizations deployed scores of makeshift AI solutions at the start of the pandemic, including basic FAQ chatbots, the Future of Work requires a much more sophisticated digital strategy. For organizations and their employees to flourish, they need more automation across the enterprise.

Streamline Employees Services

Despite the many benefits of the hybrid workplace – saving money on commuting, more time for family and personal hobbies, and focused office days – this workplace model is not without its complications. When organizations lack the right digital tools, employees within a distributed workforce often struggle to access the support they need, which can be detrimental to overall productivity.

Fortunately, the inverse is also true. When organizations empower their employees with digital tools that support them at work, employees report feeling 230% more engaged in their work, according to Qualtrics. Among those digital tools, there is a growing demand for AI and automation solutions to help employees do their jobs wherever they are located. According to a recent Gartner survey, “70% of U.S. consumers want to use AI in their jobs,” with most respondents saying they want AI to help them with process simplification.

AI solutions like Amelia connect disparate enterprise processes and systems, eliminating obstacles to human productivity in hybrid work, including long wait-times and complicated, multi-step processes for employee support. For example, when a hybrid workplace is powered by Conversational AI and Intelligent Automation, an employee’s request for a replacement laptop takes mere minutes to input and days to fulfill, not weeks or months. After requesting a new laptop from a digital agent powered by Conversational AI, the digital agent immediately checks the company’s inventory list for a laptop that is suitable to the employee’s specifications, with IT staff notified at every step of the process.

Once confirmed and approved by IT staff and managers, a digital agent updates the inventory list with the employee’s information, fills out a shipping label by accessing the company’s HR system, and then sends a notification to office managers to mail the laptop to the employee. Upon receipt, the employee can speak to the digital agent again for set-up help, troubleshooting and any future IT issues.

Without Conversational AI and Intelligent Automation, this multi-step, cross-departmental request would be bogged down by human latency. By automating this request across the enterprise, employers can limit downtime and increase employee productivity regardless of whether staff members work from home or the office.

Provide Around-the-Clock Digital Support

Employers need to consider how the hybrid workplace model not only alters the location of work, but when workers do their jobs. Pre-pandemic, the lines between work and personal life were more clearly defined. After two-plus years of lockdowns and remote work, these boundaries have now blurred, and industry analysts say this trend will continue.

Instead of working traditional business hours, Gartner analyst Suzanne Adnams says “time-blocking” will become the norm for workers in a hybrid environment, meaning employees will divide their days with several personal, family and work commitments. For this reason, employers need to ensure employee services are always available to enable optimal employee productivity. Hiring human help desk agents to cover 24 hours of service is costly, and chatbots struggle to resolve complex questions. Organizations can deploy solutions such as Amelia Conversational AI and AIOps for always-on support that learns quickly, delivers human-like assistance, and scales on demand.

The nature of work has fundamentally changed, and so too have employee expectations. Although workers accepted the stop-gap digital support tools provided during the pandemic, they now expect more sophisticated solutions to work wherever is best for them. Companies need Conversational AI and Intelligent Automation if they ever hope to successfully implement hybrid work models — and in turn transform employee experiences for long-term worker satisfaction.

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