The spread of covid-19 has created an overwhelming effect on businesses and society impacting professional and personal lives alike, of individuals in many ways. Many organizations have stepped up efforts and are trying to ramp up production of essential goods and commodities while following safety and hygiene guidelines. The multiple extensions of covid-19 measures have continually increased the probability of virtual workplaces becoming the new norm of working.
In this backdrop, it is imperative for organizations to accelerate workforce transformation to operate with less direct exposure while following the edicts of these difficult times. Data by Global Workforce Analytics tells us that only 56% of the workforce holds jobs that are compatible with some remote work. This leaves out large workforce involved in activities such as after sales, factory or plant operations, retail, and other frontline processes.
There are many jobs that are compatible with remote working. However, workers face challenges in these assignments too. The biggest emerging challenge for organizations is to reduce cognitive load and enable better collaboration for the remote workforce, while bringing the field workers to the knowledge fold by providing automation, remote work, and training solutions. At the same time, organizations need to ensure safety in their back and front office operations while mitigating business risks.
It is crucial for organizations to adopt digitally enabled solutions to accelerate the performance of operations seamlessly while working remotely. Many organizations have been able to transition long before remote working became a norm due to the outbreak of the pandemic. Digital accelerator solutions are enabling the next LEAP (Leadership, Experience, Access, Productivity) for both knowledge and field workers.
Organizations are increasingly leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) powered solutions to enable self-service using virtual assistants. This can provide significant support to front and back office employees. The deployment of conversational platforms such as customer accelerators without manual intervention can take care of millions of customer service queries and reduce load on the customer service professionals and automate emergency response for the company.
In coming times, automation will further enhance the capabilities of human workforce, as smaller teams will be able to process a lot more work, better and faster. When combined with collaborative work platforms, such processes can completely change the productivity levels of an organization. This hybrid approach is fast becoming popular with technology and operations teams of companies because of the various advantages offered by such platforms. Additionally, digital learning modules will provide integrated and accelerated learning. Micro Learning Platforms will digitally accelerate the employee effectiveness and enhance productivity.
The scenarios mentioned above are applicable for a wide variety of industries whether it is Manufacturing sector, services sector or finance companies. They can all reap the benefits of these evolved technologies and enhance operational efficiency. The new workforce paradigm accelerated by the covid-19 pandemic is forcing most organizations to find ways to connect and collaborate securely, stay protected, while managing business risks due to the disruption. The pressing business demands of the current crisis have catalyzed the movement towards adoption of an AI powered work ecosystem. This is certainly the kind of technological disruption which can address the challenges being faced by industry and take it to the next level of transformation.
The author is COO at Mindtree. Views expressed are personal.