The artificial intelligence industry is predicted to be worth $37.9 billion by 2024. Subsets and specialties within AI are developing at record speeds — especially in the remote work and work productivity sectors. Now, many executives are leaning on AI to enhance or support new remote work routines.
For many executives, scheduling and email productivity may be impacted due to the sheer increase in the number of virtual meetings. So, how do busy executives find solutions to newly created problems? I spoke with Maitrik Kataria, co-founder of email platform Newton and Simform.com, and Dennis Mortensen, founder of scheduling platform x.ai to get their thoughts on how executives and their companies can better use emerging technology in an increasingly remote work environment.
Shama Hyder: What are the biggest challenges facing executives in terms of time management, scheduling, and email management since COVID?
Dennis Mortensen: One of the more obvious challenges we’re facing is the transition from an asynchronous work environment to an asynchronous one. In a synchronous office setting, it’s easier to call for an impromptu meeting or collaborate brainstorming session. In an asynchronous one, it’s not as easy because you’re not in the same space as your team, so meetings have to be scheduled in advance. I think this is for the better.
Often, the need for an impromptu meeting is the symptom of a flawed process somewhere in the organization. We have to learn to better and more efficiently structure our companies to align with the new remote work environment. Communication is a big part of this. Try not to constantly interrupt people with a barrage of Slack messages, but plan out consistent meetings using software, like x.ai scheduling, to respect and empower your colleague’s preferences for when they would like to meet.
Hyder: Do you think remote executives have struggled with the practice of not being in the office or having their executive assistant right outside their door?
Mortensen: I think the Executive Assistant as we’ve known it is becoming a thing of the past. Working with an Executive Assistant is already a luxury that is only afforded to the very few. There are a lot of automated technologies available for communication and scheduling that complete tasks usually reserved for the Assistant.
Hyder: Why is AI part of the solution and how big of a role can it play with scheduling specifically?
Mortensen: I am a big fan of humans doing human work and machines doing machine work. Meaning, let technology automate and do what it does best, and give human beings the space to think creatively and collaboratively.
None of us are applying any of our uniquely human skills to solve our problems and are weighed down doing tasks that should be reserved for machines. This is where the power of an AI Scheduling Engine is most noticeable.
Hyder: The email management landscape is also changing because it’s an issue. How does Newton cater to an executive client?
Maitrik Kataria: The executive’s standard email experience typically involves more than one email address and device. Newton’s technology means no more switching back and forth: all your emails are in one place. It does more than just send and receive. You could snooze an email if you needed to and schedule an email you don’t want to send right away. Newton brings all the benefits of an executive assistant right into the place where you spend most of your day – your email.
Hyder: What “symptoms” signify that a mostly remote executive is experiencing issues with email and/or schedule?
Kataria: Focus and productivity are the most important benefits of a remote executive. In an office environment, you hire around an idea of offloading work and tasks that keep you on track. When an executive goes remote, they don’t have this support system to fall back on anymore and begin to be a lot more self-reliant. You don’t have anyone to remind you about that email you didn’t reply to, so Newton’s AI feature Recap intelligently detects these and reminds you. You don’t have anyone fielding your calls for you anymore, but Newton’s Tidy Inbox will filter your inbox on your behalf, removing all those spammy promo emails as distractions. With X.ai and Newton, you don’t even need a personal assistant to handle your calendar for you anymore, it’s right there, in your email, at the tap of a button.
The future of automation and adaptive technologies is the future of work. As we continue to do business in environments that remain fully remote, and amid economic uncertainty, it is important to continually reevaluate your processes and see where you can be more efficient. That’s where these technologies come in and will continue to be major players in 2021 and beyond.