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3 Ways a Digital Assistant Supports Hybrid Work
Digital Assistant
Digital Workplace

3 Ways a Digital Assistant Supports Hybrid Work

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3 minutes read time
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Published on Dec 27th, 2021
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Written by Emily Rodenhuis

Addressing the challenges of hybrid work

There’s a lot of advice about how to effectively navigate the new world of hybrid work. Whether you’re looking to eliminate digital friction, support more flexible work, or simply avoid the most common mistakes, advice on hybrid work is as plentiful as pumpkin spiced lattes in the fall.

Workers collaborating together in a hybrid team.

Some 52% of employees prefer hybrid work models (Source: Forbes)

There’s one suggestion that doesn’t get nearly enough attention, however, and that’s the use of a digital assistant.

While the term ‘digital assistant’ might immediately make you think of the ubiquitous robots we’ve all learned to shout commands and questions at, like Siri or Alexa, what I’m referring to is entirely different. In this case, a digital assistant is the growing category of enterprise technology that helps employees tackle the challenges inherent in the now mostly digital workplace.

A digital assistant can help employees better manage their attention, improve productivity, and feel more engaged.

Supporting hybrid work with a digital assistant

There are many ways a digital assistant can help simplify the work day for your employees. Here are three of the most impactful:

1. Reduce digital friction

When organizations made the switch to remote work at the start of the pandemic, they did it in reactionary mode, digitizing processes as quickly as possible so they could keep their businesses running.

It was an approach that made perfect sense at the time but launching all those disparate apps had a downside. It led to a dramatic increase in digital friction, leaving employees struggling under the burden of having too many places to go for tasks and information (a phenomenon Gartner® refers to as “Yet Another Thing to Check,” or “YATTC”), and the friction of toggling back and forth between all the systems they need to do their jobs is causing stress.

The term YATTC refers to "Yet Another Thing to Check", Gartner refers to this as the action of making it challenging for employees to effectively manage their attention

YATTC is making it challenging for employees to effectively manage their attention (Source: Gartner)*

A digital assistant helps guide workers’ attention and reduce digital friction. It does so by abstracting just the tasks and information employees need and presenting it in a centralized location within the flow of work, whether that’s on the intranet, via mobile, or in platforms like Teams or Slack.

2. Enable flexibility

Starting with the emergence of mobile phones, it has become increasingly impossible to leave work at the office at the end of the day. And now it’s literally impossible since many of us don’t even have an office outside of our homes to demarcate that fine line between our business and personal lives.

According to this report from Intuition, the projected percentage of employees working remotely before and after the pandemic has increased from 30% to 48%.

The digital workplace is often the only workplace for the growing number of remote workers (Source: Intuition)

Employees need support managing this new era of work/life integration.

A digital assistant can help by providing employees with access to their important tasks and information wherever and whenever it's convenient for them. Productivity and effectiveness are greatly improved when workers can use a digital assistant to:

  • Complete tasks and approvals from enterprise systems with just a click or two from a single, easy-to-use experience

  • Receive proactive alerts about important information like office closures or staffing changes, as well as training and upskilling opportunities

  • Get personalized answers to common questions whenever they need

3. Facilitate self-service tasks

Speed is critical in the world of modern business. Competition is fierce and companies need to run at optimum efficiency if they’re going to remain competitive. But working faster and more efficiently will require eliminating the bottlenecks that hold employees back. Organizations need to make it easier for employees to complete routine tasks and find information, so they have more time to focus on the high-value work that drives business success.

A digital assistant, armed with the power of an intelligent chatbot, can help them do just that.

A chatbot empowers employees to handle high-volume tasks like submitting self-service tickets, and provides instant, personalized answers to common questions. This enables employees to quickly complete the mundane aspects of their job and get back to the work they were hired to do.

Make it easy to submit service desk tickets and get round-the-clock answers to questions by leveraging Workgrid's Chatbot functionality.

A chatbot is a personalized conversational interface for answering questions and completing tasks. Put power in the hands of you employees with 24/7 access to critical information and self-service functionality.

To see how a digital assistant can help your organization, check out this brief demo video of Workgrid's digital assistant.

Gartner, Take These 3 Actions to Make Digital Workplaces Happier, Faster and Smarter, Michael Woodbridge, Adam Preset, Craig Roth, 21 September 2021

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

*This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Workgrid.

Understanding Digital Assistants

What is a digital assistant?

A digital assistant is technology designed to handle mundane tasks that don’t require human intervention. People are most commonly familiar with digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, the omnipresent aids we rely on in our personal lives to respond to commands like “find a Starbucks near me” and “order more toothpaste.” 

In the context of the digital workplace, digital assistants are a multi-channel tool that exist wherever employees work, whether in workstream collaboration platforms like Teams and Slack, in mobile or even on the intranet. They also provide support to users, but they do so by handling the heavy lifting on work tasks like processing requests and finding information. Digital assistants also support different user interfaces, such as chatbot and voice interfaces, notification cards and microapps, enabling users to interact with them in whatever way is most convenient.  

Ultimately, digital assistants free employees up to focus on more engaging, higher-level work by simplifying their work day. 

What does a digital assistant do?

Digital assistants simplify and streamline the work day for employees by: 

  • Connecting with enterprise systems to abstract important tasks and information, displaying it in a central location to guide employees’ attention to what they need to know or do. 

  • Elevating important communications out of email, making it easy to sends personalized, contextual alerts about training and upskilling opportunities, office closures etc. 

  • Eliminating the need to log in in and out of disparate applications to complete high volume tasks 

  • Enabling self-service functionality, so employees can complete routine tasks like submitting and tracking help-desk tickets and finding answers to common questions whenever it’s convenient for them 

In their highest forms, digital assistants can also identify groups of tasks, such as all the steps involved in booking a trip to a branch location, anticipating what users will need next and proactively guiding them through the process of making appropriate arrangements. 

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