Artificial intelligence occupies an increasingly important role in the workplace today. From automation to virtual assistance, collaboration, and analytics, AI offers effective solutions to many work-related challenges and creates a positive setup for employees to be more productive.
Artificial intelligence is not a new phenomenon. It has been slowly entering different industries and verticals to replace the traditional systems and processes. The need for digital transformation has made artificial intelligence a prime investment option for many enterprises. Forbes has reported that 50% of the businesses intended to invest more in AI and make it a part of the everyday workplace environment.
Around 83% of enterprises have increased their budgets for AI and ML since 2019. With each passing year, more organizations are adopting AI tools to automate the processes and stay competitive in the market.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further intensified the adoption rate. Remote teams and collaborations have put AI at the front. Digital transformation invariably brings several changes to the workplace. The first factor to consider here is the reaction of employees.
What does it mean to the employees when advanced technology is adopted by the business? What changes does AI bring to the work environment? How can the management streamline the business processes while assuring employees about the changes? What is the future of AI in the workplace? Let’s find out.
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Machines (analog and digital) have been a part of the work environment for a long time. AI takes it one step further by making these machines intelligent to reduce the workload on employees and increase productivity. However, it is likely that employees will be wary of artificial intelligence and new technology.
The management should first educate and assure employees about the value of using AI in the business. A cohesive workplace where employees and technology go hand in hand will be better equipped to deliver the expected results.
Artificial intelligence can be a part of various departments within an enterprise. It can be used by entry-level employees and top management. Data collection, analytics, and reporting are the three major aspects of AI.
Artificial intelligence can help the HR department streamline the recruitment process. Organizations spend millions every year to find the best candidates for different job positions in their business. The entire process often requires a few months only to start again (due to expansion or employee turnover).
AI software can automate the initial screening and filter eligible candidates from the large pool of applicants. It can also go through thousands of social media profiles to look for potential candidates. Artificial intelligence can then be used to create and analyze assessments that help the HR team shortlist suitable candidates for the job. Unilever is already using AI to automate the recruitment process.
Artificial intelligence not only helps in hiring on-site and remote workers but also assists remote workers to do their job effectively. Let’s take maintenance and repairs as an example. Technicians can control semi-automated robots from a distance and use them to make the necessary repairs to the machines.
IoT, robotics, and automation make it possible for employees to stay away from the worksite and still get the job done. Robots can be sent to dangerous/ risky workplaces instead of humans. The engineers can stay in safe zones and complete the inspections, repairs, and maintenance works. This makes the workplace safer and allows employees to work at their convenience.
Using artificial intelligence in the workplace will bring many changes. More sensors and devices will be installed and connected to each other. Data will continuously flow from one end to another. Similar to how smart devices make a smart home, AI devices can create a smart workplace where machines observe, monitor, and analyze humans around them.
AI sensors can optimize and personalize the workplace by adjusting the lighting, temperature, etc., of the room based on the employees present at the scene. AI can give management an ideal layout design to optimize space management and create a work environment where employees feel comfortable and productive.
We see two types of collaborations here. One is between humans, and the other is between humans and machines. Accenture reported that the collaboration between humans and machines will substantially increase productivity. Data flow is streamlined within the enterprise so that employees can directly access the necessary information required to complete their job.
Data sources can be connected across the enterprise to prevent data loss and keep the knowledge base up to date at all times. AI platforms make it easy for in-house and remote teams to work together, share data, updates, comments, etc., and track the project’s progress with ease.
Artificial intelligence in the corporate environment can help monitor and assess the performance of employees by minimizing human intervention. Instead of team leaders and managers, performance appraisal will be handled by the AI software. This reduces the risk of human bias and personal feelings when measuring the performance of an employee.
Similarly, people analytics will give the HR team and the top management with the necessary information about how the workplace is affecting the employees. Are they feeling too stressed? Are the employees not comfortable in the environment? What changes can be made to create a relaxed workplace so that employees become more productive? AI helps provide answers to such questions and more.
Chatbots are powerful tools that streamline communication internally and externally. For example, chatbots are used within the enterprise to assist employees with day-to-day work-related issues. Employees don’t have to wait for the tech team or HR team to respond to their emails/ messages/ calls and help them with recurring issues. The chatbots and virtual assistants will take care of it.
The AI help desk is one of the most popular customer service tools in the market. Many organizations hire AI software development companies to build and customize customer service tools to increase customer satisfaction. Self-servicing empowers employees and customers while reducing the pressure on support teams to constantly track and resolve every complaint.
We have mentioned automation multiple times. It is nothing but allowing the system to perform repetitive tasks that were earlier handled by employees. This saves the company resources, money, and time. For example, chatbots can automatically converse with multiple customers at the same time and cater to each of them.
Artificial intelligence software can help identify the problem areas and solve them effectively at every stage. From identifying the changes in patterns to isolating trends, and assessing market conditions, AI can deal with minor major issues that can put the enterprise on the back foot. Advanced analytics are used by middle-level managers to overcome challenges.
AI data analytical tools like Power BI and Tableau are used to derive real-time insights. The interactive dashboards provide access to a micro and macro view of the company. Managers, supervisors, team leaders, C-level executives, etc., access the analytics through the dashboards and use the reports to make faster and better decisions.
One of the major benefits of artificial intelligence in an enterprise is the optimization of resources. Though organizations need to invest in AI tools, there will be a decrease in the overall demand for higher investments to complete the projects. Automation reduces the need for additional resources. Cloud computing and digitalization minimize paperwork and printing.
The primary aim of every business establishment is to get more returns and increase profits. This is possible when the systems, processes, and employees are aligned to achieve the goals. Artificial intelligence helps the management align the workplace with the business mission and vision.
Customer satisfaction is another vital factor that determines the enterprise’s success in the competitive market. Many organizations use AI tools to provide better services to their customers and keep them happy. The AI tools assist the support teams to resolve the complaints on time.
Employee turnover can adversely affect the profits and productivity of a business. By adopting artificial intelligence in the workplace, enterprises can create stress-free work environments that allow employees to perform their tasks with eagerness. A happy workforce is less likely to leave their jobs.
As with every other technology, including artificial intelligence has its pros and cons in the workplace. Let’s look at the major challenges of using AI in organizations.
AI relies on algorithms to make decisions. Algorithms are trained by humans and datasets. What if the datasets are incomplete or contain data that discriminate against certain communities. The same bias will continue even when AI tools are used instead of humans to make decisions.
The current Twitter and Instagram controversies are an example of human bias and error can continue despite using algorithms. An efficient way to overcome this challenge is by thoroughly cleaning the datasets, which brings us to the next challenge.
While data is available in great quantity, not all of it is useful for an enterprise. Poor quality data leads to weaker algorithms and wrong decisions. Enterprises need to have a strict framework to clean and process data before it is fed into the AI and ML models.
Employees used to traditional workplaces can find it difficult to adapt to the changes in an AI workplace. Training existing employees can be cost-intensive for the business. One way to cover this challenge is to analyze the employees’ capabilities and create separate training modules based on their strengths and weakness.
While it can still be expensive, this method increases the chances of success as capable employees will be trained for the right jobs. It will deliver results in the long term.
AI question generation solutions like PrepAI can be used to create assessments or quizzes to gauge the employees’ learning from the training. It is cost-effective and easy to use. Add your content to the dashboard and click on ‘Generate Questions’. The machine learning model will generate many questions and categorize them as well.
The following are some examples of AI that can be seamlessly used in the workplace to assist and empower employees.
The advantages of artificial intelligence in the workplace outweigh the disadvantages by a great margin. The rising demand for automation doesn’t mean a loss of jobs. Rather, it means that employees can be less stressed about doing the same work multiple times and can be more productive at their job.
A study report by PWC AI shows that any loss of jobs will be offset by a proportional increase in new jobs that require special skills. In short, students and aspiring engineers will have more job opportunities if they specialize in using AI technology. There’s high demand for AI engineers, which is expected to continue in the future years.
Furthermore, all jobs cannot be fully automated. Humans must still control and work with AI tools to finish the task. We can conclude that the future of AI in the workplace will have a cohesive team of humans and AI technology working together to achieve goals. It will be a place of coexistence.
Artificial intelligence will continue to be a game-changer in the global market. It can be adopted by SMBs, SMEs, and large enterprises to improve processes and achieve goals.
Since building AI software and ML models from scratch is cost-intensive, many enterprises rely on offshore AI software companies to build the tools or customize existing software to suit business requirements. It won’t be long before every organization will adopt AI into its workplace and reap the benefits.