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How Remote Workers Can Work More Efficiently

work more efficiently

The ongoing global pandemic is a remote workers boom. Sharing workspaces with children home from school requires a tough balancing act. But, despite this shortcoming, 59% of workers say that would like to extend their work-from-home schedule.

86% of workers say that they are more productive working remotely since they experience fewer interruptions than they do when working centrally. That said, there is an immense need to extend remote work comfort levels via technology. Over 50.6% of remote workers have had their productivity challenged by factors such as virtual meeting snafus.

39.6% of these employees cite virtual meeting communication problems as a major pickle. Artificial intelligence meeting assistants like Aira, for instance, can make the unproductive zoom meeting dilemma a thing of the past. Below are some of the tips that will help you work more efficiently.


1. Hold regular productive meetings

One major drawback of working from home is the severed physical connection between workers. Over 70% of remote workers say that fostering healthy relationships with their peers is as important as their jobs are. The average employee spends over a third of their life at work. That means that relationships between co-workers are a vital component of well-being.

High levels of job satisfaction go hand in hand with relationships and engagement at work. Virtual meetings can help increase engagement and foster relationships amongst work from home workers. You should have regular check-ins and one-on-ones between supervisors and employees to iron out any differences and challenges.

These meetings can tackle problems head-on, encourage creativity, and boost the camaraderie on your team. A one-on-one chat between a manager and his employee is an excellent opportunity to check on the worker’s mental health in the absence of the physical wellness meeting.

Virtual meeting assistant tools such as Aira can simplify the meeting note-taking process by logging into your virtual meeting and taking notes. Aira will free every meeting participant, allowing them to focus on the matters at hand.

She will take meeting notes, transcribe the whole meeting session, and highlight the action items. After the meeting, this handy tool will upload all the notes and transcripts in a central location to encourage follow up, problem-solving, and collaboration.


2. Streamline collaboration channels

While contact is essential between remote workers, disorganized contact can be a distraction. In the office, workers spend a lot of time mulling over non-work issues, lowering productivity. Remote work lessens this form of distraction but opens a can of worms in collaboration.

Your employees could easily miss their tasks and remain out of sync with the business’s objectives because of a lack of feedback and collaboration channels. To keep your co-workers focused on the big issue, have an efficient project management platform in place. It will increase productivity on projects, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the team’s workload.

A robust project management tool will help assign and organize your worker’s projects and tasks. If there is a need to reshuffle the responsibilities, you can do it with the click of a mouse. Have the best platform at hand for seamless time tracking, invoicing, billing, and task list creation.


3. Take a break

A remote worker does not have to deal with exhausting commutes, to and from work. In the absence of the daily commute, the employee lifestyle becomes more flexible, allowing them to lead a healthier life. Unfortunately, the work from home arrangement can wreck the work-life balance of an employee.

While the remote worker is more productive working away from the office, they are also more stressed out. 29% of remote workers say their work-life balance is out of order, while 54% of them feel more stressed. In contrast, 23% of office workers struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance while 40% of them feel overly stressed.

To lessen the anxiety that accompanies the remote working experience, employees need to learn how to unwind by taking breaks. Data shows that workers that take brief breaks between tasks are less stressed out. Longer breaks will enhance output.

A remote worker should get up from their workstation and take a walk or grab a snack when they free most distracted or strained. Alternatively, they can meditate, or call a friend to ease the tension. Encourage your workers to try out the Pomodoro Technique to enhance productivity through its simple six-step method shown below:

  1. Select a task
  2. Focus on the task for 25 minutes
  3. Have a sheet of paper at hand and put a checkmark on it, after your 25 minutes are up
  4. Go on a five-minute break to wind up a Pomodoro sprint
  5. Repeat this process three more times
  6. Take a long break after four sprints for the rest of your working hours



Conclusion

 Employers are embracing the work from home setting and expect three times more work from home arrangements than they had before the COVID-19 pandemic. While news channels love to hype the narrative of struggling parents working from home, the reality supported by data is quite different. Working from home has its perks. The tips above can streamline remote work, increasing its productivity.

10 Benefits of Artificial Intelligence You Didn’t Know Before

benefits of artificial intelligence

AI refers to a computer system that is trained to perform tasks with human-like abilities, especially cognitive abilities. The training process includes repetitive exposure to the same elements until the computer can recognize and recall those elements in future. As the computer learns, it also acquires the ability to self-correct and reason. That’s a simple example of the benefits of artificial intelligence.

The AI market is still growing. Predictions show that by 2026, demand for AI will reach over $300 billion. According to a voice and speech recognition trends report from Grand view Research, a big driver of this growth is voice and speech recognition, which is expected to grow by 17.2% annually until 2025.

The growth of voice and speech recognition software is already evident in products such as Alexa (Amazon devices), Siri (Apple devices), Cortana (Microsoft) and Google Assistant (Android). There has also been a remarkable attempt by new brands to curve their space alongside these big players. A good example is Aira, an AI assistant that has transformed the online meeting space with its intuitive note taking and minute taking ability.  


What are the benefits of Artificial Intelligence?

The true benefits of Artificial Intelligence are realized when it can make human work easier or more efficient. For example, some AI can find insights in large bodies of data within mere minutes. Such a task would take a human being many hours, or even days to accomplish. In addition, in a factory, AI can automate repetitive tasks that usually take hours to complete.

Note that in a business, AI is not created to replace humans, but to support them in their daily functions. As a result, your company will notice these improvements:  

  • Reduced cost of business
  • Speedy and more efficient workflows
  • Higher sales conversions
  • Faster hiring processes
  • Highly accurate and improved recommender system
  • Better revenue and profits


Let’s expound on these and more benefits of artificial intelligence implementation below:

10 benefits of Artificial Intelligence you didn’t know about

1. Automating workflows

30% of activities in 60% of occupations can be automated. This is according to a 2017 study conducted by Mckinsey. Since AI can automate tasks, integrating a personal assistant into your business will help you streamline some of your activities.

With the market for workflow management systems expected to grow to $9.9 billion by 2021, AI will play a crucial part in realizing these predicted numbers, by driving more productivity in:

  • Main business functions such as sales, marketing, customer service, HR, production, supply chain management
  • Project management

2. Time management both at office and personal level

Top executives in a company usually have a personal assistant to handle administrative tasks for them. For other employees, the burden of having to worry about scheduling meetings, arranging travel, following up on client correspondence, etc., can get in the way of daily productivity.

AI can help businesses optimize their time by automating such tasks. With tools such as Cortana, Siri, Aira, among others, you can automate tasks such as:

  • Emailing 
  • Meeting management
  • Note taking
  • Planning business travel and accommodation

3. Meeting scheduling

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Meeting scheduling can take up a lot of an employee’s time. Done manually, scheduling a meeting takes a lot of coordination and planning. The back and forth emailing involved to make one meeting happen can overwhelm employees’ inboxes and also waste a lot of time.

This is yet another area that Aira excels in, as it takes the hustle out of meeting management by syncing calendars and automatically scheduling meetings based on team members’ availability.

4. Enterprise assistant

You have probably heard of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant. What you may not know is that besides the core functionalities that are inbuilt into Cortana, Microsoft has a skills kit that can enable you to program Cortana to perform company-specific tasks.

The Cortana skills kit was released during a conference in 2018. Prior to its release, the team at Microsoft trained Cortana to create tickets for employees whose computers were experiencing system difficulties, and then file those tickets to a human assistant to assist. Although that is just one skill, it is a clear indication of the possibilities for trainable AI. You can train Cortana to assist you in your work, no matter the industry you work in. Cortana can for instance:

  • Send texts and emails
  • Find places and information
  • Send you reminders
  • Manage your lists and calendar
  • Open and run aps
  • Track orders and packages
  • Track flights

You can also use Alexa to perform most of these tasks.

5. Arrange travel

If you or your team constantly need to travel, an AI app that automates flight and hotel bookings is sure to be a time saver.

In addition to Cortana which we have mentioned above, Mezi is a great example of how AI can help you with travel arrangements. Such AI utilizes chatbots to automate mundane travel arrangement tasks, leaving you to handle only the most important transactions.

6. Improving sales  

AI for Sales
Image credits: Pexels.com

A study conducted by Gartner in 2018 found that by 2020, 30% of b2b companies will make use of AI to boost some of their sales processes. In addition, 25% of customer service processes will integrate chatbots or virtual assistants.

The benefits of Artificial Intelligence adoption in business functions are evident. Some of them include:

  • AI can boost lead conversion rate by 30% (Gartner)
  • AI use in sales results in 50% increase in leads, reduces costs by up to 60% and call times by up to 70% (Harvard Business Review )
  • 63% of a salesperson time is spent on non-selling activities. AI can positively improve sales by automating this time. (resourcefulSelling.com)

There are quite a number of AI assistants in the sales space such as Conversica, Exceed, Drift, Node, Sales Force’s Einstein, among others.

7. Handling the recruitment process

Companies spend an average of $4000 to recruit a new employee. In addition, you lose up to 33% of an employee’s annual pay whenever they leave. Given these high costs, you want to avoid hiring mistakes as much as possible.

However, the tasks involved in recruiting candidates can be quite involving. For instance, every application received has to be read and screened. As such, mistakes are bound to happen, resulting in wrong hires.

AI assistants such as Mya reduce recruitment friction by cross-referencing resumes against job descriptions to find the most suitable candidates. You can also use the AI app to schedule interviews, create interview questions and shortlist candidates.

8. Improve customer response time with chatbots

Chatbot
Image credits: Pexels.com

Customers value fast response time when dealing with a business. A sure way to guarantee this is by using chatbots. Chatbots

  • Keep business going after official working hours
  • They respond to simple queries that don’t need live staff
  • They manage expectations by acknowledging that a query has been noted and will receive attention

As with most technologies, chatbot adoption was a little slow at first; people just weren’t comfortable talking to a machine. More so, first generation chatbots were simple platforms.

Today’s chatbots however are more sophisticated, conversational AI that help to

  • Streamline enterprise activities,
  • Hence boost employee productivity, and
  • Improve customer engagement

Not only can you integrate chatbots into your website, but you can also use twitter’s and Facebook’s AI assistants to improve customer handling on those platforms.  Your developers can actually create AI chatbots on Facebook’s platform design kit  and twitter’s API platform, and personalize them to suit your brand.

9. Create opportunities for personalization

Marketers experience a 20% increase in sales performance when they offer a personalized experience. In the same vein, 40% of customers are likely to buy from a brand that sends them personalized content. (Source: Instapage)

To personalize, you need to understand your customers’ needs and then target them with offers that will resonate with their position in the buyer’s journey. This needs time, money and expertise, which may be challenging for a business operating on a small budget. AI can simplify this process by analyzing data from different touchpoints and

  • Segment your customers,
  • Predict customer intent, hence,
  • Target customers with the right content and offers.

10. Forecasting 

Forecasts are a normal part of an organization’s planning process. Companies use forecasting tools to make decisions regarding

  • Inventory levels
  • Product demand
  • New product development
  • Purchase of raw requirements
  • Economics such as profitability, inflation and interest

Forecasts are critical to the long term health of a business. The process therefore has to incorporate all key information sets. More so, forecasting must be conducted in a timely and efficient manner. That is where AI systems such as neural nets and Bayes networks come in.

With Neural nets for instance, you can look for relationships in data using human-like cognitive processes such as pattern recognition. Tasks such as forecasting employee turnover based on data parameters such as pay, education level, attendance, job level, use neural nets.



Conclusion

As you can see, the use cases for artificial intelligence in business are many, and the benefits of artificial intelligence are endless. As AI continues to develop, it will inevitably converge with other areas of life. As a business, you want to be at the forefront of this curve so that you harness the limitless technological possibilities that are sure to come with an AI-led business world.

The Top 10 AI Assistant Tools That Are Ruling the Roost Today

ai assistant tools

It is almost impossible to believe that ten years ago, Siri was the only voice assistant in the world. In one decade, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken over the world.

By 2019, we had over three billion voice assistants globally. It estimated that the world will have close to eight billion of these tireless and friendly AI assistant tools by 2023.

These rising figures prove that the AI assistant tool has become an indispensable feature in the office and home life. Humanity is becoming increasingly dependent on scheduling bots with conversational interfaces that help in maximizing efficiency. We need Alexa around us to play our favorite songs, and AIRA to sit in our meetings and take our notes for us.

There is an AI virtual assistant for just about any task under the sun. Consequently, these tools have become a facet of technology, making an appearance in office equipment, electronic home appliances, and vehicles.

This rapidly growing market will be worth over $118.6 billion by 2025 as large AI invested businesses like IBM, Samsung,  NVIDIA, Google, AWS, Facebook, and Microsoft battle it out for the customer.

Here are ten of the best AI assistant tools that you should get your hands on.

1. Siri

Siri

Siri was the world’s first voice assistant. This fantastic Apple feature started as an independent voice assistant app for the iPhone. The smart people at Apple saw its potential and acquired it in 2010, integrating it into the iPhone 4S.

Apple has kept a tight rein on Siri, limiting third-party developer access to it. This aspect might have throttled Siri’s abilities, but it is still a force to be reckoned with in the world of AI assistant tools.

Some of the Apple voice command feature includes its ‘Raise to Speak’ feature that automatically activates the iPhone’s call feature. Siri can:

  • Post to social media platforms
  • Dictate your posts
  • Do your math
  • Convert measurements for you
  • Save your notes to Evernote
  • Make reservations
  • Remember relationships and pronounce names like Saoirse and Mireille without butchering them
  • Siri can also give you the flight numbers of the planes above you

She’s a great assistant for Apple die-hards. But hey, what if you’re not an Apple fan? You can easily go for this next option…


2. Google Assistant

Google Assistant

Google got onto the mobile voice search technology in the 2000s, but its breakthrough came in 2011. At the time, Google Assistant was a minute microphone button. This simple feature has, over time, graduated into a robust voice technology assistant.

Google Assistant made a debut in 2016 and is today a leading player in the advanced virtual assistant’s sector. The AI tool has become a common feature on a wide range of home appliances, smartphones, cars, and headphones.

The natural language processing tool can perform voice searches, commands, device control, task assistance, real-time translation, and much more.  

You can use it to find your gadget, order your pizza, and screen your voice calls. The “Hey Google, read it” command can narrate web content. The app can amongst many other things, stream your favorite show on Netflix.


3. Cortana

Cortana

Cortana is an AI app from Microsoft named after Cortana, the Halo AI. Nevertheless, Cortana in Halo is 500 years away in the future so, she will be named after the Microsoft AI.

Yes, time travel is very confusing! Cortana, the Microsoft virtual assistant is available on Microsoft platforms. You will find her on Windows mobile, Windows 10, Microsoft Band, Xbox, and Windows Mixed Reality (MR).

She is also on Amazon Alexa and a wide variety of popular headsets such as the Sennheiser GSP350, HyperX CloudX, and the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2. This AI assistant tool provides reminders, answers questions, manages calendars, automates tasks, keeps notes, and offers hands-free assistance. 

Using natural language processing, Cortana can learn and manage complex tasks. She has also integrated data from the Bing search engine and over 400 million devices on the Microsoft network. Therefore, she offers personalized recommendations. Cortana is not purely a Windows AI but has an API that works with other third-party apps.


4. Alexa

Alexa

Amazon Alexa, simply known as Alexa hit the scene in 2014. At first, she powered the Amazon Echo Dot speaker’s ecosystem that runs on the Alexa app. Today, this AI assistant tool powers user communication with it via thousands of ‘skills’ or pre-set functions. For this reason, Alexa is that useful roommate that reminds you of all your important appointment and dates but does not steal your ketchup. 

She uses natural language processing and voice queries to offer services such as music playback, voice interaction, stream podcasts, create to-do lists or play audiobooks. Alexa can help you to skip the traffic gridlock, offering the fastest route to work. She will also talk to your pets while you are away and feed them, too.

Have writer’s block? Talk to Alexa and she will help you with her Writing Motivation skill.


5. Lyra

Lyra

Lyra is a personal assistant AI marketed as Indigo until 2017 when it got its catchy name. Perhaps named after Lyra Silvertongue of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra uses Material Design, which gives her an incredibly attractive look and feel for a simplified AI assistant tool.

Lyra can:

  • Search out YouTube videos
  • Find directions
  • Tell jokes
  • Set alarms
  • Manage your diary

…amongst a horde of other features.

She runs on iOS and Android systems and has a unique cross-platform functionality that allows her to engage in a conversation across different gadgets. She is a conversational, intelligent assistant designed as the Android’s ecosystem answer to Siri and can translate over 70 languages. Her multilingual abilities are astounding, and you can have her functioning across your laptop, desktop, phone, and tablet.


6. Bixby

Bixby

Bixby is an android AI assistant tool for Samsung devices. It is a decent personal assistant that runs a device’s web searches and Google Play app downloads. If you have gadgets from the Samsung proprietary hub, Bixby will support your smart tech as well.

Use its voice command features to send emails and texts. Bixby Voice is one of the most interesting features of this personal AI assistant.

It can adapt to your style of speaking, so you can issue commands in different variations and Bixby will provide an answer without any hitch. You can also view a personalized current activities reminder from Bixby Home, a social stream for all social media updates, reminders, and other relevant information.


7. Hendrix

Hendrix

Hendrix is an AI meeting assistant designed by Testfire Labs. Meeting assistance has become a crucial part of business, capturing the details of discussions accurately. Hendrix, will not only transcribe your meeting’s notes but archive them as well. This AI assistant tool will also create action items and place them on a searchable dashboard.

Since Hendrix will merge all your action items, meeting minutes, and history in one portal, you can relax during meetings and focus on being a productive part of the discussions at hand. Hendrix is compatible with a variety of conference providers such as Zoom, Uber Conference, Go to Meeting, WebEx, and other dial-in platforms.


8. Aira

Aira

In the not too far past, every team, office manager, business process, or function had an assistant. Their job was to take care of chores such as meeting scheduling, taking meeting notes, and other office tasks.

A personal assistants’ job was to support other office workers as they fulfilled the business’s core mandates. This scenario was replicated in offices worldwide…until the AI assistant tool came into the scene.

With intelligent meeting companions like AIRA on your side, you can now handle your meetings without worrying about a human assistant. AIRA will join your web conferencing calls, take your meeting notes, and share them with your group instantly. She will track all your online meetings, step in, and transcribe all that is mentioned. She integrates with CRMs such as Zapier and has a continuous upgrade process to ensure top-notch productivity.


9. Edison Assistant

Edison

Edison Assistant is an all-rounded AI assistant tool with a wide range of automation that will streamline your tasks and notifications. Edison has over 43 automations whose functions can compile your daily tasks, actions, and reminders in a single app.

It will also eliminate any duplicated or outdated contacts and send you reminders of birthdays via Facebook. You can also use Edison to manage your email inbox, create personalized alerts, and save plans to your calendar. It can send texts on your behalf when you are away from the office.


10. Hound

Hound

Hound, made by the SoundHound designers, is a voice assistant app powered by AI. You can have it on your iOS or Android apps and use it to search for data in your natural voice. Hound is powered by Houndify’s Speech-to-Meaning™ and Deep Meaning Understanding™ features that give accuracy to the answers that its users ask.

You can use Hound to make hands free phone calls, send texts, or retrieve weather and news information online. This AI assistant tool integrates with a wide variety of apps. You can use it to hail your Uber ride, book your flight, navigate to an address, or find a hotel.

Hound has an impressive array of clientele that include Motorola, Honda, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.


Conclusion

Digital assistants are here to stay, as human personal assistants become a luxury for the elite. You can now automate your tasks and manage your time much better with their support. The technology is still in its growth stage, but it has so much to offer as it becomes smarter.

The choice of AI-powered tools out there is endless. However, this list has the best of them, pick your AI digital assistant, and enjoy automated and unrivaled intelligent support.