Covid-19 pandemic has made millions of knowledge workers adopt work from home, and keeping in mind that this could be viewed as a shelter to profitability, shockingly, it isn’t. Working from home yields hundreds of daily distractions from checking on children to cooking dinner, receiving incoming texts from worried loved ones, and the usual social media breaks, in short, a myriad of many non-company activities that are consuming company time. Simultaneously, the global workforce needs to be more productive than any other time, if they are working distantly. Employer stability, proficient headway, and individual prosperity are likened with elevated levels of efficiency. What’s more, not simply efficiency, individuals need to inundate themselves in the “profound work” that drives genuine business esteem like raising profits, decreasing expenses, and improving client experience.
89% of employees admit to wasting time during work hours with 61% squandering at least 30 to 60 minutes each day, and 64% of those blame it on the Internet, a huge temptation for those toiling from home with no one watching. Fortunately, new advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning will help these workers stay focused on the most important work at hand by eliminating tedious tasks and providing guidance that leads them to focus on the activities that matter most to their organizations. In reality, AI is the best friend, not a foe, to the challenged remote workers and organizations that employ them. AI excels at using accurate data to produce powerful business insights, often better than humans can. We simply don’t have the ability to observe and process the same volumes and at the same speed as AI does.
With the support of AI, we can all make better decisions. While we cannot hand off leadership to a machine, AI can provide a better starting point to lead from, and usher in the bold concept of machine learning, humans leading. But AI can work in the background and continually observe workers then make prioritized, personalized recommendations for managers to execute. For example, AI can accurately identify the quality impact, uncovering if other employees are more or less productive as a result of an employee’s work. Another example is AI can determine specific actions and in what order employees should work. In sales, AI can determine when to reach out, follow-up, nudge a prospect. We know the system; we may even know the ideal. But we don’t always do it. Thankfully, AI can make these recommendations accurately and in real-time.
AI’s power all comes down to the accurate data it analyzes to yield insights that lead to the best possible decision-making capabilities. Decisions have a dependency and input, the data. Companies are sitting on billions of rows of underutilized system data. They collect data all day long and are often not even aware that it exists. By leveraging this data, the AI algorithms make predictions, just like a human would do to create leadership hypotheses and ask the right questions, uncovering the right answer to the important “What will happen if…” questions and possible scenarios. Since this data is synthesized in real-time, it can be used in real-time. When leaders are doing other deep work, AI works in the background to provide recommendations about what is needed to achieve business goals. For example, it calculates the optimal time for like-for-like work. Surprisingly, the variability of doing like-for-like work can be as high as 263%. And this isn’t between different employees. It’s within an employee doing the same thing, time after time. The managers never saw this as they’re focused on macro KPIs instead of identifying which employees need help with what work.
The most important decisions leaders make are about helping their teams succeed. And employees truly want to improve and grow but they need help. Over $50 Billion is spent per year in leadership development, but sadly, that investment is failing to yield equal results. Only 7% of CEOs believe their companies are building effective leaders. Some of these frustrated CEOs are turning to AI-powered productivity solutions by placing the decisions that leaders need to make to help their people improve, right in the notifications of their phones, for which technology helps leaders make better decisions that will improve employee performance and yield productivity growth. This is the core area that needs attention: better decision-making by focused teams. Right now, employers pay nine hours per day but only getting three hours of productive work per day. This must change now in the face of an economic meltdown.
At this time, leaders need to help employees get over the fear of using AI as most are afraid that new technology will replace them, making their roles obsolete. This is not true in my experience. If organizations can build the case for AI and transparently show their teams how it will help them advance their careers and derive greater job satisfaction, people will embrace it. As we head into a global recession, AI will help employees and their organizations thrive and find new ways to succeed in the increasingly uncertain post-pandemic world.