In an age of sudden social distancing, nearly all businesses have been forced to evolve more rapidly than ever before. It’s now clear the rapid shift towards remote work won’t be easily undone, with major organizations such as Salesforce announcing roadmaps for making many work-from-home positions permanent.
During this major period of change, many companies have discovered that some of their solutions for remote work need an upgrade.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-enabled automation have continued to grow into mature technologies offering tangible benefits for businesses. More daily tasks now fall within the scope of what automation technology can accomplish. As companies cope with the reality of a workforce that must remain remote, how could new tools deliver vital WFH upgrades?
Automated Performance Monitoring Frees up Management Time
Oversight of WFH employees has been one of the key challenges facing the businesses that have sent most of their workforce home during the pandemic. A manager can’t easily stop by workers’ desk and see their progress, and hourly check-ins on Zoom aren’t always useful to employee productivity.
The solution may be automated performance monitoring simplifying the check-in process and providing accountability for all parties. According to research by Gartner in Computer World, more than a quarter of surveyed companies had deployed monitoring software on WFH employee laptops as of July 2020.
Managers can receive automatically-generated reports based on activity monitoring, user surveys, and other tools. Workers at home can remain focused and on-task while management knows where to devote their attention.
Improved Software Tools Streamline Remote Work Tasks
Properly equipping WFH teams is just as critical as providing in-office workers with the appropriate tools. Companies must give serious thought to the tools they choose to license for use by remote teams.
Cost is an essential consideration, but so are user-friendliness and functionality. For instance, PDF software upgrades for remote workers can provide at-home access to tools for automating essential tasks, including digitizing paper hard copies, creating fillable forms, and converting to other formats for sharing.
Better team messaging and video conferencing solutions keep teams in close contact, while automatic project management can streamline check-ins and automate the collaborative process.
Customer Service Automation Reserves Humans for Important Interactions
With fewer people in the office, some basic tasks suddenly become much harder. These include vital yet easily-overlooked efforts, including handling incoming phone calls, inquiries, and customer support requests. According to a report in Business Wire, hold times have risen dramatically, and customer satisfaction has plunged.
Platforms automating some fundamental customer service interactions can do more than guide callers through an automated phone menu. With an AI-powered chatbot setup, customers can enjoy prompt answers to common questions.
For edge cases falling outside a bot’s understanding, callers and online chat users can still reach the right person in your business automatically—even if that person is sitting in a home office. Business VPN connections give these service pros access to the customer data they need to fulfill a caller’s needs.
With a robust setup allowing remote workers to coordinate seamlessly with automated business processes, customer service can adapt to the realities of the WFH world.
WFH and the Rapidly-Changing Business Landscape
While it’s hard to predict what the next few years will hold for the business world, the need for ongoing WFH arrangements is a well-established consideration for most businesses. Even as some industries look forward to bringing employees back into the office, some element of remote support is likely to remain.
Once businesses adopt them, automated solutions will become entrenched as they overhaul inefficient processes and provide new opportunities. With smart investments in the right tools and the training to use them, companies can fully leverage AI and their WFH workforce.
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