BY| June 10, 2020
Remote work has been gaining popularity over the past few years. Since the decade began, the industry has grown by 400%. And with the pandemic forcing offices to close, it has directly catapulted remote work into the spotlight. True enough, job platform FlexJobs confirms a significant increase in remote positions—from IT professionals and programmers, to business trainers and customer service providers. Gartner predicted that by 2021, the increase in remote workers will allow organizations to support 40% more employees in the same amount of office space they currently use.
Of course, much of remote work’s growth is attributed to the equally rapid growth of technology. Already, we’re seeing the mass adoption of numerous tools, such as Software-as-a-Service, cloud storage, and big data. But if there’s one field that has helped advance remote work the most, it’s artificial intelligence (AI).
From automation to boosting convenience, let’s take a look at five ways AI is helping remote workers.
1. More (Remote) job opportunities
One of the biggest fears of AI adoption is its potential to take people’s jobs and drive them to unemployment. This fear is not unfounded. As a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Watson AI Lab shows, jobs with repetitive tasks (like scheduling and credential validation) now appear less frequently in listings as they can be automated. In contrast, there has been a higher demand for positions that call for “soft skills,” like teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity—roles that cannot easily be replicated by a robot.
Plus, as more companies begin to understand the potential of AI, it is predicted that there will be more AI-related positions too. A survey on Gallup notes that IT and other tech fields are among the top industries that support remote work, and AI should be no different, whether it’s software engineering or data science.
2. Automated admin work
Like any professional, remote workers have a lot of admin tasks, such as scheduling calls, emailing clients, and sharing files. Drawing from AI’s ability to take over mundane labor, there are now many AI-powered tools available to help remote professionals. For example, NYC-based startup X.ai launched digital personal assistant Amy, who can arrange meetings and even contact participants. Similarly, Talla is an “all-in-one” machine that lets users communicate, automate, and coordinate with other team members. It even integrates with other tools like Office 365, Google Apps, and calendars. Technology is expanding at such a rapid pace that workers can be just as connected at home, at a coffee shop, or on the move—as they are when they’re sitting at an office.
3. Improving online discussions
More than 90% of our communication relies on non-verbal cues. Think facial expressions, cadence, body language, and even the way your eyes light up when talking about a certain topic. So for remote workers whose main form of communication is online messaging, it’s easy for things to get lost in translation.
Although emojis and other forms of multimedia have tried to add depth to social media discourse, much of it can still feel quite impersonal—especially if language isn’t exactly your strong suit. Fortunately, AI has been providing some solutions. San Francisco-based startup Grammarly makes use of its AI language checker to not only correct grammar and spelling; it also advises users on voice and clarity. By examining your emails, texts, and other messages, it ensures that you’re communicating in the tone that you want to. Other plugins like Boomerang and Crystal work similarly.
4. Accessible cybersecurity
Smartphones have become essential to our lives, and users will go through great lengths just to protect their devices. This is proven by the rise in facial recognition technology, fingerprint pattern sensors, and much more. Beneath the screen, even metal core PCBs are now being used to dissipate heat faster and keep active components cool to boost mobile performance. There are tons of exciting developments, but one area that most tech users fall short of is securing the actual data inside their devices. And because most home set-ups don’t usually have extensive security systems like offices, remote workers are prime targets for cyber-attacks.
Thankfully, cybersecurity solutions have evolved to be more accessible to individuals who may not be able to afford robust protection. With the assistance of AI, it can analyze large volumes of data, recognize malicious behavior, and quickly detect threats and deal with them promptly. Companies like Cylance and Darktrace now offer these AI tools, which anyone can use for their own personal devices.
5. Easy troubleshooting
Without access to immediate IT support, remote professionals often have to troubleshoot problems themselves—and this can sometimes be a hurdle to productivity. In fact, most work-from-home problems are tech-related—be it unreliable internet connections or faulty software programs. With AI, individuals can solve most technical problems on their own. Aside from their suite of guides and modules, Wipro HOLMES has a real-time AI bot to answer queries and aid you through the troubleshooting process. They can assist in a wide scope of home office problems, like plugin issues, ActiveX controls, and more.
As home and office gradually merge together, technology will continue to adapt to these new systems of work. Although remote work can be a challenge, AI-based tools should make our lives a little bit easier.