Help Is on the Way: How Digital Assistants Can Improve Workplace Productivity

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

If you are on the fence about embracing digital personal assistants, here are five ways they can improve your workplace.

There’s so much hype surrounding digital personal assistants these days that you’re probably on a first name basis with Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google.

And if you’re among the 55 percent of people who use voice assistants regularly, then you’re already well aware of how beneficial these assistants are in your personal and professional life.

If you’re on the fence, however, about embracing digital personal assistants, here are five ways they can improve your workplace.

Related Article:Making Time for You: How Reflection and Down Time are Critical to Productivity

1. Boost Collaboration and Productivity

Keeping track of your employees’ productivity can be a tedious task. Sending emails or texts to each employee to find out sales information or their progress on an assignment is time-consuming as well. Digital personal assistants have changed that for the better.

For example, Slack has a nifty feature called Howdy that will send your team those types of questions so you can focus on other projects that can grow your business. Furthermore, this keeps your entire team on the same page so everyone can keep tabs on each other and quickly share information without having to type and send out emails.

2. Schedule Reminders and Meetings

Let’s say that you need to pick up some printer paper and ink on the way home. Add that reminder into Google Now and whenever you approach a store like Staples, Google Maps will send you directions along with a friendly reminder. You can also use that tech whenever you have a business meeting in an unfamiliar part of town.  

Cortana takes it a step further. It can predict which actions you may want to take next. For example, if you and a client are planning a lunch meeting through email, Cortana will automatically ask you if you want to schedule a meeting based on the email conversations.

3. Less Typing = More Creativity

I don’t know why this is, but the act of typing can slow down the creative process (and personally, I despise typing, in fact, I used Google Voice to type most of this article). Think about that for a second. You’re in the zone and have a million ideas you want to share with your colleagues. Then, you have to sit down and type these ideas out.

Your train of thought has suddenly come to a screeching halt. With digital personal assistants, you can just speak your thoughts and they’ll be converted into emails, documents or to-do lists. This not only keeps your train of thought flowing, it speeds things up so you can get back to work on other tasks.

Related Article:Get an Edge: These 5 Tools Will Boost Your Productivity

4. Saving Money

If you’re on a tight budget, hiring actual assistants may be a necessary yet costly expense. Thankfully, there are tools like Ooma’s Virtual Receptionist that essentially replaces this full-time employee at a low monthly cost.

This tool, which is part of their Ooma Office system, allows incoming phone calls to be answered and directed to the appropriate employee in your business, creates automated messages that share vital information like your business hours and list of employees, customizes directory settings and even checks your messages from your mobile device.

Plus, you can use the text-to-speech feature to create audio greetings.

5. Automate and Simplify Daily Tasks

This could be the biggest advantage of digital personal assistants. Let’s say you want to call Bob Smith. You can simply grab your iPhone and ask Siri to “call Bob Smith.” If you need to email Bob a piece of information that was in an email, you can ask Google Now to find that specific email and then compose a new email to Bob.

Besides simplifying tasks, you can also automate tasks. For example, you can set up alarms, notifications, location reminders and tasks like social media updates so you don’t have to manually do so every day. Even more interesting, you can sync your digital personal assistants with other gadgets. For example, you could start brewing coffee every morning at 9 a.m. or have Nest turn on the air or heat in the building at 7 a.m. so the office is comfortable.

Related Article: Management Starts Here: 5 Ways to Increase Office Productivity

As the Internet of Things advances, this will become a more common occurrence. And you’ll probably wonder why it took so long for this connected world to become a reality.

How have you used digital personal assistants in your place of work?

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