Maintaining Business Continuity During Crisis

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has forced most of us to work from our homes. Businessmen, employees, service executives and several other people have now been relegated to operating remotely, something most of them are not accustomed to doing regularly. Even in large corporations with well defined business processes, there are often very few set guidelines for managing remote work. This holds true for the employees as well, the large majority of whom are used to working with teams in office spaces. The sudden change to remote working has pushed both organizations and employees into an unfamiliar territory where they need to perform their tasks just as efficiently. While this sounds easy enough on paper, the truth is that several organizations are struggling with maintaining productivity levels and keeping their employees engaged remotely.

Keeping workforce in the loop

This new scenario has put a sudden focus on remote working tools. For example Zoom, a conferencing software has gone from 10 million daily active users (DAU) in December to 200 million in March. Other collaboration tools such as Slack, Trello and Basecamp have also seen a tremendous increase in daily users in the last few months. But in spite of these tools being useful for meetings and conference calls, certain tasks within the company still need to be done on phone or chat. Let’s take the instance of a group of employees who want clarification on a particular company policy. In a normal scenario, one or more of them will be able to walk up to the HR department and get the necessary information. Being physically present in an office also means that this information can be passed on quickly among employees of different departments through word of mouth. But in a remote setting, when most employees are juggling between work and domestic responsibilities, things can become a little challenging. Multiple individual requests like these can overwhelm the HR or other departments and put an unexpected load on them. Business continuity can be maintained through automating many such functions and keeping the organization running smoothly. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using an intelligent, programmable bot that can personalize the interaction with each employee. The bot can be integrated into a messaging platform where one-on-one conversations can be enabled. Bots can be used to automate many such functions within the organization and keep different teams working more efficiently.

Meetings all day

Remote working has also brought new challenges to customer management within organizations. Physical meetings are no longer possible, and need to be moved to Skype or Zoom. For people with multiple meetings in a day, this can be quite a task since each meeting needs to be individually setup and shared with the other party. As online meetings are set to become a vital part of almost everyone’s job function for the next few months, better organizing them would definitely save a lot of time and effort. Technology can be used to automate this process for both existing and potential customers. General information like office location, availability of an executive, list of products and services, etc. can be shared through a messaging platform in personal conversations. For critical tasks, the bot can send a request to the concerned executive and check his availability at a certain time. Although this setup is perfectly suited to a remote working environment, it can also be used in normal working scenarios to boost productivity. A bot can also act as a personal assistant that always gives an overview of the list of tasks at hand, sets reminders, sends automatic replies and more.

Hiring Remotely

Recruitment is one of the biggest challenges during the lockdown period. Some organziations have completely stopped hiring while others try to get a grip on remote hiring. With a long list of applicants that need to be screened by recruitment teams scattered remotely, coordination and communication can become cumbersome. Automation can significantly reduce the load here as well, with a single bot being able to engage multiple candidates simultaneously, providing them necessary information, setting up Skype interviews or updating them of their application status. Automated hiring systems can speed up recruitment, reduce costs and free up more time for recruitment teams. Just like automation for other company functions, hiring automation can be used even in a regular, non-remote work setup.

Bots and Artificial Intelligence have been around for a few years now, but there has never been a more appropriate time for them to become mainstream. The uncertainty of pandemics and natural calamities can often catch businesses when they are least prepared. In times like these, the most well equipped players armed with the right tools will be able to minimize losses, keep their employees motivated and survive to see better days. Nearly every major organization has been through rough patches during their lifetimes, some paid a heavy price to remain relevant while others went out of business. But unlike the past, today’s smart technology if used strategically, can mitigate risks and cut losses by a huge margin. Don’t wait for the next pandemic, get automated today.