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artificial-intelligence, business-process, coronavirus, covid19, remote-working

Adapting to the times: Working from Home

Written by Sarah Mizzi, Front-End Developer and Marketing Executive at Wyzer.ai
A virus is all it took to create global chaos. Overnight, people all over the world had their lives turned upside down. The old norm of heading to the office and socialising on the weekends is slowly becoming a distant memory as self-isolation becomes the new norm. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on the 11th of March and since then every country has tried their best to avoid further contamination of the disease. Country leaders of the larger global economies were seen to delay lockdown actions due to the impact it would have on their economies. However, as the spread of COVID-19 became uncontrollable, the closing of borders and non-essential businesses became inevitable, regardless of the repercussions which are still relatively unknown. The decision for countries to go into a partial lockdown did not come easy for anyone as now businesses in those countries are struggling financially to stay afloat. How can something invisible to the naked eye have such an impact on the economy? This is mainly because this is the first time that people in this century are experiencing a situation like this therefore it was difficult to foresee. Most businesses were unprepared for this sudden drastic change and were not capable of acclimatising their business process promptly. Those businesses that are succeeding during these times are those that already had a system for remote working in place for their employees so business went on as usual. For example, at Wyzer, we already had a system in place that allows anyone to work remotely when they want to. Hence, this change did not disrupt the company or its projects and nor did it slow down our business process. Those companies that weren’t able to work remotely had to either close shop indefinitely until the virus blew over and/or make people redundant. Some got creative and saw this as an opportunity to shift digitally and try to find a way to stay afloat during these turbulent times. The sudden change to working remotely comes with some problems of its own:
  • Companies without the ability to suddenly change the business process of their operations are left with confusion and lack of communication amongst their employees.
  • Employees that are new to remote working have their own obstacles to overcome such as social isolation and lack of routine and structure to mention a few which can all be detrimental to the mental health of the employees.
  • Lack of preparation and tools for employees to work seamlessly while apart
Businesses nowadays need to be able to adapt in a time-efficient manner to any given situation. This was not the first time that companies quickly had to change operations and it certainly would not be the last. Nowadays, we are lucky enough to have such advanced technology that allows employees to work remotely seamlessly. However, to do this, a solid business plan and process need to be set in place. Wyzer aims to help these companies that have struggled to change their business process in a timely manner to stay afloat during these times. Our Software as a Service (SaaS), Wyzer Work, will allow any company to acclimate to any given situation the business may face within a couple of minutes. Wyzer Work is a system that helps all aspects of the company come together through the use of a Business Process Module Solution with implemented Artificial Intelligence. Some Benefits that Wyzer Work can bring to your company, but are not limited to, include:
  • Allows for quick re-assessment of the business processes to adapt to the current situation. The low-code program makes it easy to use and understand without the need for IT personnel. Having to go through fewer people to adjust the business process means that the change would happen more effectively.
  • Mobile Users — Accessible over the internet due to Cloud Capabilities meaning you can access the program remotely to keep businesses running as usual from wherever you are.
  • Allows for Team Agility as all the team would be working on the same platform with live updates and the ability to assign urgency to certain tasks. This would speed up processes immensely within the team during remote working while keeping communication levels high. Better communication levels would aid in helping employees stay on track to reach targets.
  • Reduce the redundancy rate within your company if you are struggling to readjust to the current situation in a timely manner.
  • Job creation- Businesses can carry on with their human resources practices despite the disrupted business climate.
  • It speeds up processes by digitally signing and getting approvals.

Survey Results:

To help those companies and employees that are struggling with remote working, we thought that we would conduct a study. The aim was to gather information so we can determine how everyone is coping during this period and why remote working works for some people but not for others. With Wyzer’s newest SaaS, Wyzer Work, we would like to help where we can to make everyone’s job easier and remote working possible. Another motivation for us to conduct this study was to see that if the people that got to work remotely for a long period of time would like to adopt it into their usual routine once this pandemic is over. The survey was filled in by 150 people from mainly Malta but also other countries within the EU. These people all came from very different industries, the most popular being IT, Legal, Finance, Insurance and Architecture. The ratio of male to female was more or less equal and the age brackets are as follows:
(Chart: Age of the interviewee’s.)
We asked the respondents whether they felt that the company they work for was ready for the switch to work remotely to which 39 said no and 111 said yes. We also asked what are the tools they are utilising the most to aid with remote working which is presented in the diagram below.

Most Popular Tools:

(Chart: Most popular tools being utilised to work remotely.)
When working remotely it is important to have 3 different types of tools: Communication, File Sharing and one that gives access to the enterprise applications. Most companies use more than one tool to function efficiently. What is important is that the main tools being utilised are secure as you would not want your company’s sensitive data to be leaked online. Zoom was recently in the news for having security issues. It was also noted that although most people felt their company was prepared for the switch to work remotely, almost every single person said that they are having communication problems within the company. This could be due to the fact that although they are utilising video conferencing tools, a lot of them are using Email, WhatsApp or Facebook as the main source of written communication which tends to get confusing within large groups. This leads to unclarity and miscommunication amongst the team. The companies may also not be having video calls frequently enough. Many also have the problem that they lack access to documents and files that are only accessible by physical copy in the office, which means that the company is not using enough file-sharing tools such as google drive. When asked whether remote working affected the company’s customer experience, 112 people said no while 29 said yes. Those that said yes work in various industries like Retail, Sales, Education, Law and Architecture. The most common problem was the lack of interaction between them and their customers as it is impersonal and harder to communicate without the ability to read body language and social cues. We also asked respondents to tell us what are the benefits of working from home and what are the challenges they are facing.

Benefits:

Challenges

(Chart: General overview of how many of the interviewee’s tasks can be done remotely.)
We then asked what percentage of their tasks can be performed remotely. Those that responded with 20% and 40% are mainly in jobs that make it difficult to work remotely such as Education or are Directors or Managing Directors (who need to oversee the company and deal with problems daily). With the data received we compared the results of how many people would like to work remotely in the future against those who had experience working remotely before to whether they would like to work remotely again in the future.

Working Remotely again in the future?

(Chart: General overview of the interviewee’s response to whether they would like to work remotely again in the future.)
(Chart: A general overview of those that have worked remotely before to those that wish to do so in the future.)
To get a more in-depth view we also broke down this graph into age brackets and with those that have kids to see which age bracket would be more likely like to work from home.
(Chart: Age difference vs their experience with working remotely prior to social distancing.)
(Chart: Age difference vs wishing to work remotely again in the future.)
(Chart: Seeing the difference in parents with their experience of working remotely before and whether they would like to work remotely after.)
From these graphs, it is clear to see that most employees in most industries, where possible, would like to have the option to work remotely whenever possible. It is particularly visible in the age bracket of 18–29 where most have never worked remotely before and after this experience, only 6 replied they definitely would not like to work remotely again in the future. It is also important to note out of those 9 that said ‘definitely not’ to working remotely again in the future, 4 of them are in the education industry (which may require a great amount of physical interaction) and the majority of the others are professions which cannot function properly when working remotely. The others may not like the ‘anti-social ness’ of working remotely or may just prefer the office environment. The respondents that said they have kids also would like to have the option to work remotely or add it to their weekly routine. Although working from home with children can be beneficial for the parents due to time management, it is also not for everyone since they can shift your focus. Lastly, we asked respondents what tasks do they have that they cannot do while working remotely. Out of the few that we got, we picked these out as with our product, Wyzer Work, these are all capable of being achieved within minutes. Besides these capabilities, there are also other benefits to our product above. Our system will make working from home as seamless as possible.
  • Obtaining Signatures on documents — This can be done with Wyzer Work as we have integrated a system that allows you to digitally sign or upload an image of the signed document
  • Document couriers — There is no need for document couriers with our product as everything is done digitally and securely.
  • Access to and updating physical files — with Wyzer Work, everything is done and stored on the cloud which is secure and allows remote access.
  • Auditors (Physical Documents are Required) — documents are easy to retrieve from our system and can be done with the click of a button.
  • Processing of Paper Work and Invoices
  • Seeking approvals — Approvals can be done within seconds with Wyzer Work.
  • Getting core systems data on time — Wyzer Work has live data updates.
  • Management of people, checking departments and daily ongoing monitoring — Wyzer Work has a task assigning system that allows you to manage your team and see what they are doing.
With the help of our product integrated into your system, working remotely would never be easier. Are there any questions that we haven’t answered? Let us know through our ‘contact us’ page — www.wyzer.ai or email us at hello@wyzer.ai. In the meantime, at Wyzer, we are building Wyzer Work. This is a BPM tool that will encompass all of the above features and we plan to launch it later this year. We are currently accepting a limited number of BETA customers. If you want to be part of our journey, please get in touch with us! Let’s work toward a Wyzer and more digitized working world! If you do feel like you are struggling at the moment with the current situation and being stuck indoors, please do seek help from the local authorities where a helpline is provided. *Disclaimer: Wyzer is in no way affiliated with the brands or products mentioned in this article.
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