Facilitating a Safe Workplace During COVID-19 with Cognitive Automation
Welcome to the year 2021, where we embark with new hopes that this year would be a much better year than the previous – especially after what we have gone through in 2020. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) arose in late 2019 and its presence has been affecting most of our life aspects in a disruptive manner, especially how it disrupts not just the overall business operations and opportunities, but as well as the working environment. This unprecedented pandemic leaves organizations fumbling with the biggest uncertainty of how their business will continue to grow – or whether it will ever grow again, while the fear of the virus spreads in an accelerated velocity compared to how the virus spreads itself.
Pandemic has slowed down many key activities, including business operations, and some companies have gone out of business. Quarantine, isolation, lock-down, travel restrictions are having deep impact on the economy of multiple industries – leaving them in a steep slope of their business curve. But life must go on. Businesses which can adapt will survive and thrive.
From the first or second quarter of 2020, organizations all over the world have been implementing remote-working as well as assigning workplace management by splitting workers to work remotely or at physically-distanced arrangements. This leads to a significant decrease of productivity and made worse by the workplace management system that is not effectively and properly designed. Looking at this issue, the new question arises: how to make sure your business survives through this pandemic?
Welcoming New Normal, but How to Stay Alert of COVID-19 In Workplace?
Business are starting to reopen toward the end of 2020, their daily activities and operations are slowly becoming more active each day. However, considering the resumption of work activities, there are also challenges and risks that require our smart handling to mitigate the dangers of COVID-19 as we still don’t know when it will end.
What are those challenges and risks?
- It is compulsory for businesses to comply with various regulations (e.g. safe-distancing, frequent cleaning of premises) to be able to fully resume work activities in a physical manner.
- Stringent safety measures must be implemented to all the workers in workplace/worksite, to reduce or minimize the risk of the COVID-19 spread. This will mean to reduce the physical interaction of on-site workers across departments or teams.
- Project timelines have been disrupted and delayed. Steps are needed to optimize planning in the new business condition. This will require an integrated system that allows scheduling of plans, even during new normal.
- Smart, accurate, and real-time management is necessary to monitor the health status of every worker to monitor possibility of infections among workers. This include things such as emergency plan to handle unexpected scenario if any worker is not able to work on-site.
Tracing the challenges and risks, a question appears: how might we create smart management of office work processes to provide a safe workplace during COVID-19?
Utilizing Cognitive Automation to Facilitate a Safe Workplace Management During COVID-19
What are the criteria?
The solution needs to deliver supportive capabilities:
- As a health-monitoring solution: Receiving, collecting, reporting data inputs relating to workers’ health status. As an example, swab test results.
- As an exposure-monitoring solution: Making prediction as preventive measurement on possible level of COVID-19 exposure risk based on the contact tracing systems that would be in line with health-status data. The solution should be able to utilise, process, and analyse both existing and incoming data inputs.
- As a health-assessment solution: Merge and analyse multiple data sets to generate a risk assessment level that indicates whether a worker is qualified to work on-site.
- As a smart planning solution: Managing and monitoring the execution of scheduling plan, as well as assigning scheduling plan that is always changing in line with the changing COVID-19 situation. A solution should be able to make changes on existing scheduling plan if any condition is met, e.g. if a certain stipulated worker is not qualified to work or if any new COVID-19 regulation is to be respected.
Cognitive Automation, the solution we all need
Cognitive automation (automating business processes with artificial intelligence) is attracting worlds’ attention, especially during COVID-19 pandemic that forces restrictions on most of business activities. Empowered with A.I. with cognitive functions, cognitive automation is not only able to automate business operations, but also simplifies existing workflows. This will result as a robust and agile digital tool to overcome issues regarding manual and traditional work replacement.
Cognitive automation embeds powerful A.I. features to boost up its capabilities in making the work easy for human, such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Image/Object/Face Recognition and Detection. But in what area we can use them?
- Complex decision-making from large amounts of data
- Extraction of information from documents (data-extraction)
- Face/Object/Image detection and recognition
- Interpreting unstructured text (text-analytics)
With its wide cognitive features, cognitive automation becomes a solution that companies can implement to mitigate addressed challenges and risks arising during COVID-19’s new normal, in terms of facilitating a safe workplace for workers.
Overview of how cognitive automation can automate the overall workers’ health management workflow:
- Digitizing incoming workers’ health examination results through intelligent document extraction. Intelligent document extraction plays role in extracting key data-points relating to workers’ health status, then generate an Excel/CSV file that compiles all the extracted health-status data of all workers.
- Processing and integrating health-status data. This means making data integration possible with automation. From the document file generated from data extraction, data will be transferred into the company’s system that is used to monitor workers’ health status. Cognitive automation can enter and update data on the system, as well as collecting and merging data from system to be imported in a new document sheet or report.
- Using the incoming and existing data inputs, cognitive automation can be used to predict the health-risk or level of COVID-19 exposure. This is predictive analysis capability that is possible through A.I. Machine Learning, which can be used as a preventive measurement of COVID-19 possible level rate of exposure.
- By predictive analysis, workers can be divided by their readiness to work. Cognitive automation can recommend whether they are qualified for work on-site or not.
- Real-time management by processing the result of predictive analysis. This means sending notification or alerts if certain risk level is hit, or to send updates to all workers regarding who is qualified for work on-site. Cognitive automation can also update the workforce management platform where scheduling plan is, to list workers that are qualified for work and who are not.
- On-site monitoring. Generate a safety measurement level and monitors if a worker daily health-status reaches limit, then send alerts if any workers reach the risk level.
- As a smart management of planning system, cognitive automation can generate weekly or monthly scheduling plan including who is the worker qualified for work based on their readiness of work. Cognitive automation can also get updates gradually of new COVID-19 regulation, then make changes on the existing scheduling plan accordingly.
- Generate overall report. Cognitive automation can generate report, either weekly or monthly, without human intervention in the process. Human-staff just needs to do fast verification and validation, of the repot that is generated automatically by cognitive automation.
In a summary, capabilities of cognitive automation that can facilitate a safe and smart management of workplace during COVID-19:
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Written by: Kezia Nadira