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Leaders embrace AI to tackle fragmentation at work

Leaders who adopt AI-powered solutions at work will supercharge their team’s ability to reach their full potential.

A leader’s job is to support individuals to reach their full potential by helping them identify where they want to get to and how to get there. That’s why people-focused leaders are introducing AI tools to help their teams perform at their best and carve out more time for meaningful work.

In the current state of hybrid work, we’re more reliant on our screens than ever. Within that, our workdays have become fragmented as we’re not just working with files any more – we’re accessing all kinds of content, scattered across hundreds of browser tabs, apps and productivity tools.

This has led to information overload. Our workflows are disjointed, and our screens are a mess. We’re wasting a lot of brain power because we’re spending so much of our time doing ‘work about work’— finding what we need, getting organised, constantly context switching and toggling between multiple apps.

Not only does this hinder an individual’s potential, but distractions like these can cost businesses hundreds of hours per person each year. A recent Economist Impact study, sponsored by Dropbox, found that the average UK knowledge worker spends 131 hours a year trying to regain focus from interruptions such as emails and meetings. Meanwhile, the economic opportunity of addressing lost focus at work is estimated at $197 billion in the UK alone.

Against this backdrop, it has become imperative for leaders to seek tools that reduce the cognitive burden of work.

The AI opportunity

The pandemic brought to life some of the biggest pain points that knowledge workers face today. As Dropbox designs and builds tools to support remote work, we’re committed to solving these challenges for our customers.

Thanks to recent advancements, we have a powerful new tool in our toolkit to help: AI. AI gives us the ability to automate busy work, increase productivity and expand our potential. In fact, according to a research study by Economist Impact and sponsored by Dropbox, of those who report using AI and automation tools in their work, 79% are more productive.

We’ve already incorporated machine learning into our products, with features that automatically turn an off-kilter photo of a document into a perfect PDF and automations that remove “ums” and “likes” from Dropbox Capture screen recordings. Our aim is to help people save time and work more efficiently.

However, what we’ve seen is that our customers are looking for an even more personalised level of AI. They want a tool that can answer questions and provide insights on their own content, and their company’s content, while helping them to find what they need at work.

That’s why we’ve introduced Dropbox Dash, an AI-powered universal search tool, which connects all of an individual’s tools, content and apps together in one single search bar.

What does this mean for our customers? No more toggling between apps to share content, join a meeting or find a deck that a teammate shared. Instead, Dash helps to streamline the workday and keep people in a state of flow where they’re working at their best. Better yet, because Dash is powered by machine learning, it learns, evolves and improves the more it’s used.

Designing a more enlightened way of work

One of the biggest benefits of AI-powered tools is that they enable businesses and individuals to refine their working practices. With data-driven insights and more time to re-imagine new experiences, we have a huge opportunity to rethink how we work for the better.

It is on that basis, and with that insight into the world of work, that we continue to innovate, using direct customer feedback to refine and expand the tools we create.

We call our working model Virtual First, and we believe that living in this new reality every day enables us to become a lab for distributed work 2.0. It helps us understand our customers – and, as an extension, the world of work as it is today – a little more.

All this links back to a single vision: to design a more enlightened way of working. The future of remote work lies in our hands, and part of a leader’s role should be to incorporate the right tools that enable true productivity and focus. They have a role to play in ensuring that the next generation of knowledge workers can have their content in one place, ready whenever they need it. We can finally give ambitious people time to realise their full potential, by giving them the space to focus on the work that matters most. To learn more about Dropbox, click here.

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