Posted: Thu 7th Dec 2023
In the past three years, flexible and hybrid working has become the norm. But while it's had a number of benefits, it has meant many organisations have had to update or add to their existing technology.
As a result, workdays have become more fragmented, with employees juggling various types of content across lots of different apps and tools and becoming overloaded with information.
Recent data indicates that individuals spend roughly 8.8 hours each week searching and gathering files. Added to that, 69% of knowledge workers devote up to an hour every day navigating between different applications. This is not only inefficient but costly, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.
To address these challenges, SMEs need to rethink their approach to technology. Adopting a "less is more" approach, focusing on tools that bring together a number of capabilities, is crucial. Paired with the smart use of AI, businesses can become more productive and free up one of their most valuable resources: time.
How AI can be transformative
The pandemic highlighted some big challenges for knowledge workers. Forced to transition to remote work overnight, lots of businesses soon realised their systems were, and still are, in disarray. Now, they must bring back all the different types of content and tools they use in one well-organised place.
Fortunately, recent advances in technology have given us a powerful new tool: AI. It can automate routine tasks, boost productivity, and help businesses broaden their potential.
For small businesses, adopting AI might feel intimidating. However, technology like ChatGPT shows that advanced AI can be very user-friendly: its simple chat function means anyone can start using it, without needing any technical expertise.
The power of personalised AI
As we begin to build it into our daily routines, AI promises to improve our roles by taking care of all the admin.
But while chatbots like ChatGPT or Google's Bard are great starting points, they don't fully adapt to your specific business or the working styles of the people it employs. Personalised AI, tailored to specific needs and environments, will truly revolutionise the workplace.
Most importantly, it isn't a vision from a distant future. Machine learning-powered tools can learn, evolve and improve the more we use them – and they're already easily available to individuals and businesses.
One example is Dropbox Dash, an AI-powered universal search tool we introduced recently at Dropbox. It connects all of your tools, content and apps together in one single search bar.
For small businesses, it means no more toggling between apps to share content, join a meeting or find presentation slides that a teammate shared. As AI adapts to individual working styles, it becomes even more effective at simplifying the workday and letting employees focus on more valuable tasks.
Sadly, many businesses have become overloaded with information and seen their working processes become disjointed. So, a new approach is needed. The cost of time lost to "work about work" is a burden that all companies, and particularly SMEs, can ill afford.
To navigate this new era successfully, smaller businesses must adopt a less-is-more mindset, and seek to adopt tools that bring together a number of capabilities in one easy-to-access place. By combining these tools with a personalised approach to AI, your business can regain the invaluable resource of time.
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