Saturday | Mar 20 | 2021

Artificial Intelligence & Working From Home

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As a business owner or any employee, we are all accustomed to our lives around the 9 to 5 work culture. Waking up every day to repeat the cycle is the lifestyle of most of us. But with the current global situation affecting our lifestyle in many ways. We have no option left but to work from home as per the circumstances. Some employees find it peaceful and more productive away from wasting time with the daily commute and office distractions. Others find it difficult to focus and be as productive as in offices. Irrespective of our domestic work and work from home situation, we need to reassess and restructure our work lifestyle. With businesses restructuring their work processes and communication to strictly work from home in the wake of the current global crisis, we need to assess other factors too. All of us see AI and ML as a looming sword over our jobs, willing to take our jobs and replace us. However, neither is that the case now nor is that going to be a reality anytime soon. But how is AI going to help resolve the current work-life emergency? Is it going to help us move away from an office and desk work culture to work anywhere and anytime? It all depends on your industry and position.

Work Lifestyle and Artificial Intelligence

Before we start talking about AI and remote work culture, we need to know the reality of current Artificial Intelligence capabilities and keep our expectations in check. AI is still relatively new and branching and impacting other sectors of our lifestyle at a slow and steady rate. We cannot expect an AI-enabled virtual hologram to do everything for us just yet, but there are plenty of areas it can be helpful. Here are the factors where we can expect AI to help our work culture and lifestyle:

1. AI and Communication:

Communication is an essential tool that ensures team productivity. Without proper communication and tools, it is not possible to start work from home. If we are thinking of moving our entire work lifestyle and infrastructure online, AI can help. You can see AI in places like VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and even special applications and tools created for fast and efficient communication. It can be something like a visual whiteboard or conferencing tools that use AR, VR, along with AI/ML integrated into them. There are products available in the market that make use of Artificial Intelligence and come up with meeting notes for you whenever you are in a meeting by merely listening to your conversation.

2. AI and Workspaces:

A common platform to work and track productive time is just as essential to businesses as communication. When you bring AI into the equation, you can think of a typical workplace. AI can do wonders, Imagine the workspaces that use AI to streamline your work and show you just what you need. A time scheduling AI mechanism or even some advanced tools to drive your productivity and focus positively. Artificial Intelligence

3. Work-Life Balance:

Now AI would not replace you, make you obsolete, or even snatch your job from you. Those fears are only valid if you’re not a skilled worker. For example, the invention of Automated Teller Machines did not replace those bank tellers who hand out cash to customers. Those tellers are now also working on a wide variety of value-adding products/services. If you are working in the IT industry or pharma, there is no way that AI can replace you completely given the current climate. What it can do is take over some repetitive tasks which make your job boring and monotonous for you. Implementing AI-based automation solutions, you can be sure that you spend more time on balancing work and life. You could learn or spend more time with your family with the space that AI gives you. Surely it would be another responsibility, but once we move outside of the office, we move outside of the traditional way we see offices as.

4. Artificial Intelligence and Management:

Managing people in your office is no easy job. You might be a project manager, a team leader, or even a branch manager, each of these roles have their challenges. Monitoring every employee when they’re not in front of you is as much of a management challenge as it is a communication issue. However, AI can help in not only giving you automated management of your employees and their productivity but also help in boosting your business. Freelancing is one such existing work infrastructure that guarantees you not only your work but also quality. With AI, you can make use of productivity tools, management strategies and see how your team performs with different suggested approaches. When talking about software development or any other industry with time sensitivity, it is quintessential that we meet client deadlines. Ensuring your employees and teams work with each other in a scrum or fast-paced workflow is possible with AI assisting with the problem.

Is it the end of 9 to 5 jobs?

No, it is not the end of office 9 to 5 work culture. Essential services like medical workers, mechanical work among other sectors require in-person human interaction. While we talk about such sectors, there is a subtle, distinctive border between essential services like pharma, mechanical jobs, construction, and even delivery. We cannot expect our current level of Artificial Intelligence to do everything for us. Instead, the IT industry can set an example by going entirely online like the industries and companies highlighted in this McKinsey report which take advantage of remote work to boost productivity. Another factor to consider is the environmental impact and lifestyle improvement opportunities that this gives. It suggests that 9 to 5 work culture should certainly evolve online with the help of AI to assist us. At the same time, we also help restore our environments and focus on mental wellbeing. AI can help us only if we are willing to help ourselves survive and lead better lives. Moreover, AI is here to support and augment your capabilities not to replace and make you obsolete.

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