Case Study: EY invests in AI to improve approach to flexible working

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Professional services firm EY has invested in AI-powered tools to assist their employees in the transition back to the office, while maintaining the flexibility they had during the pandemic.

Digital Nation Australia spoke to Kate Hillman, people, place and culture leader for EY Oceania about the company's data-driven approach to flexible work.

According to Hillman, “It's time we thought about how do we make work, work for workers? That's what we are trying to do at EY, by listening to our people, by understanding how they're behaving, how they're acting and how we can lift the cognitive load that they experience every day so they can focus on the work that matters.”

EY is leveraging Microsoft Viva Insights as a tool to help reduce the burden of the cognitive load for employees she said.

“Microsoft Viva Insights looks at a range of inputs across our system and allows us to understand our people's attendance behaviours. It helps us to understand what are some of the working patterns? 

"For example, we know that we've had lots more ad hoc interactions and one on one interactions between leaders and people over the last window of time. We also know though that we've been overscheduling formal meetings,” said Hillman.

“It gives individuals the ability to see their own patterns or work behaviour, and they get their individual report and it allows them like I did this week to realise most of my meetings were last minute, last week, and that's probably not a great way to be operating and what's going on there and how can I do it differently?”

EY has rolled out an app within a couple of its locations to assist employees with the decision each day as to whether a home or office environment would be more beneficial.

“It sits on your mobile phone and what that does is it reads your diary, it reads all your information. When I wake up, instead of having to get online and figure out where I'm supposed to be and what time and book the rooms and all of that, the app has done that for me,” said Hillman.

“It even tells us how we need to use our real estate. Where do we need to create more collaborative spaces for people so that they're not packing up at 6:00 AM, jumping on the bus riding to work, sitting next to someone, just to bang out an individual report. We'd rather, they're not doing the typing pool arrangement and that they're actually using that time to connect with clients and each other.”

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