Remote and hybrid work has become the norm in many sectors. While some workers have returned to the office, 66% of U.S. employees still work remotely, at least part-time. New technologies could take that further.
Tech-enabled the work-from-home revolution in the first place, with cloud computing and video conferencing software leading the charge. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) could accelerate its growth. Here’s a closer look at how that could happen.
“Remote work is already becoming the norm, but AI and IoT can take it further and grow it faster.”
Managing Remote Teams’ Productivity
While many people report being more productive when working from home, it can still be challenging to remain efficient. Communication can be slow or confusing, and managers may have a hard time ensuring people are actually working. AI can help.
AI software can automate things like data entry, scheduling, and assigning projects to free remote workers to focus on more valuable tasks. Similarly, automation software like enterprise resource planning (ERP) eases communication and data sharing by updating single sources of truth in real-time. These automatic, across-the-board updates keep everyone on the same page.
Some AI software can measure employee productivity by monitoring their screens and registering keystrokes. These tools can help hold remote workers accountable and ensure managers that everyone is remaining productive.
Bringing Remote Work to New Sectors
While many office jobs are easy to perform remotely, some tasks require more hands-on attention. As a result, many industrial workflows can’t experience the benefits of more flexible working environments. IoT connectivity can change that by giving people remote access to physical resources.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), for example, can offer an immersive, up-close view of far-away locations. Mechanics can use these technologies with IoT-connected cameras to inspect or monitor equipment remotely, either independently or while working with an on-site technician. IoT-connected robotics can take this to the next level by letting them also operate on machinery remotely.
As IoT technology develops, jobs in manufacturing, engineering, surgery, and more can go remote. This remote connectivity could let teams get expert help regardless of where they are, offer more flexibility for employees, or mitigate in-person health concerns.
“IoT connectivity can enable remote work in jobs where it was previously impossible.”
Finding Ideal Remote Candidates
While remote work comes with many benefits, it’s not for everyone. Roughly one in five workers who can work from home say they rarely or never do for various reasons. Preferences and skills vary between people, affecting their at-home comfort and productivity. AI can help companies find job candidates ideal for remote positions.
Machine learning models can learn what experiences or qualities make a worker a good fit for remote work. They can then analyze submitted applications, resumes, or profiles on job websites to highlight promising candidates. Managers can then make better hiring decisions, placing people in roles that fit them well.
Similarly, these hiring algorithms can find workers better suited to in-office work if companies are looking to fill those positions, too. By matching people to their ideal work environment, businesses can make the most of flexible workforces.
Enabling Global Workforces
AI and IoT can also take remote work to the next level by helping companies expand globally. Some of the most promising job candidates may live in other countries, but it can be hard to integrate international workers into a company’s workflows. AI and remote connectivity make it easier.
Language barriers can limit international expansion, but today’s translation AI can outperform human translators in some contexts. AI can also offer instant translation, letting teams in different countries and cultures work together with little delay. Companies could use these tools to gain remote workers across the world, not just the country.
Similarly, AI can help businesses understand different regulatory considerations between nations. Algorithms could automatically adjust company networks or contracts based on region-specific laws in remote workers’ locations. This regulatory compliance could help businesses avoid high fees and legal trouble.
“AI and IoT can help businesses navigate obstacles in working with international remote employees.”
AI and IoT Could Take Remote Work to New Heights
All signs point toward remote and hybrid work as the way of the future. AI and IoT technology can help businesses embrace this shift sooner and take it to new use cases and extents. They can then experience the full benefits that these flexible working environments have to offer.
As these technologies advance, new remote work opportunities will emerge. Businesses will overcome the work-from-home challenges they face today and become more productive, flexible, and successful in the long run.