If the past couple of years have taught organisations anything, it’s that agility and adaptability are key to managing disruption. As companies of every size, and in every vertical move towards a post-pandemic workplace, a range of concerns arise. For one, they need to consider how to keep staff members safe while they are at the office. They also need to figure out how to make distributed or remote work both manageable and effective, and how to ensure collaboration is seamless and efficient.
To do this, they are looking to digital technologies that enable seamless and simple integration, so many companies are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to do everything from optimising operations, enhancing efficiencies and creating better, more personalised customer experiences.
However, there’s one area where companies of all sizes can benefit too, and that is leveraging AI in the workplace to transform their internal users’ experiences, to boost success. This goes way beyond simply using AI to automate the arduous and boring jobs that take up so much time and resources, it means using AI to help employees become more effective in their roles, and to help them develop along their career paths.
Doing this leads to organisations gaining a better understanding of their business and their people and enables them to make useful predictions that support productivity and promote stability, particularly in uncertain times like these, such as the aftermath of the global pandemic.
If we look at how AI can benefit the workplace, it can potentially enhance HR scalability, recognise patterns in individuals’ behaviour, and offer hyper-personalised experiences and support where and when they are needed. All of this helps the company become more resilient and makes the working experience more rewarding for employees.
This is particularly important in today’s era of hybrid work, as workplaces have become far more dynamic. Employees no longer come and go in predictable patterns, they work from home or at a coffee shop, and come to the office on days that suit them. No longer does each staff member have their own desk, they sit wherever there is a place, which could complicate the design of the office, as well as the allocation of resources.
AI can play a critical role here, by monitoring the comings and goings of staff members, including the days they come to the office, and how often they do so. This can pinpoint patterns that help businesses allocate their space and resources more effectively, and can help them make decisions around reducing private offices to make more room for collaborative spaces.
Another area where AI can benefit the workforce, is by helping avoid employee burnout. HR departments are currently having to manage the monumental task of supporting a workforce that is feeling both anxious and on the verge of burn out. As people return to the office, even on a part-time basis, HR need to find ways to maintain company culture, and boost morale and energy within the company.
Feeling overwhelmed and overworked can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health, and AI can be used to monitor team workload, and enable managers to intelligently allocate projects to ensure responsibilities are spread out more evenly across a particular group. This information can also be used to decide if extra resources, such as third-party support, or additional technology, could make a meaningful impact.
It’s also important to remember that not all AI solutions are created equal. Many organisations today think they have AI tools in place, but what they have in reality, is a business intelligence solution, that uses a finite set of data. For any solution to be truly AI, it must be flexible and fluid, able to cope with a wide range of evolving situations, and leverage data from across the business, to bring predictive and intelligent decisions and recommendations.
With true AI-driven insight, a business can start to realise some real, tangible benefits. However, it’s important to remember that the interpretation of data always lies with people, and we can never be replaced by AI. Instead, we need to think of it as an incredibly powerful tool to realise efficiencies and optimisations for the business at large and its workforce.