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Why a digital workplace is perfect for minimalists

Ah, minimalism! Wouldn’t we all want to live in and manage a perfect life where everything we see, touch or do is essential, profound and sense-making? From Apple‘s industrial design over Japanese homes to the austere lines of admired skyscrapers, minimalism is something universally admired by everyone.

Yet, at work we experience the exact opposite: Sales calls, spam emails, 27 open tabs, piles of paperwork, unorganized online meetings and buzzing phones. Over years we may have refined our ability to shuffle all this clutter about. But with over 10% of all knowledge workers using more than 11 systems on a daily basis, work is and remains a leading cause of stress for most of us.

It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Business software infused with AI and built on open standards like APIs hold much promise for more user-friendly applications. Here are 4 ways in which Now Assistant helps you declutter your desk and get you one step closer to a focused workday.

1. Instead of a cluttered homepage, you get your own personal homepage

Imagine your typical run of the mill enterprise portal. It’s got a menu on top, then 2-4 columns that are filled with “boxes”. They may be called portlets, widgets or applets, but they are all essentially showing you a discreet slice of information in their prescribed location, let’s say Company News will be in the top left. Forever, even if there hasn’t been a news article published in 3 days. Even if you’ve already read all the company news. Even if you don’t need news right now to get your work done. It’s location is written into the proverbial HTML stone.

Minimalist Workplace a new kind of business app UX

Not so Now Assistant. Its content is organized into Cards, which you can think of a little bit like Post-it notes. And your stack of Cards is just yours, no one else will see the same. And even to you it will look different all the time, as it continuously changes with your schedule, events that happen in your sources, or as you work through your Cards. In the spirit of minimalism, this business application shows you everything you need, and nothing that you don’t.

2. Instead of a string of emails, you get a stream of personalized notifications

Think of your Outlook. The constant source of mindless dribble from dozens of newsletters, junk mails, automated notification emails, etc. Let’s say you have received an email a news sales lead is in your CRM. But by the time you get to click on the link inside the email, it turns out the lead is already assigned to someone else. Does this sound familiar? Micro distractions like this cost you in productivity two or threefold: You’ve not only wasted time pursuing an email that was in fact irrelevant, but you’ve also not spent that time doing something actually productive, and you may well find it can take you several minutes to regain your concentration after; up to 23 minutes each time you're interrupted.

Minimalism at work saves 23 minutes for each interruption saved

Not so in Now Assistant. As a digital assistant its real-time APIs integrations you only see the leads that are currently unassigned. So if someone else is assigned it, it will disappear from view for you. But this applies to all kinds of use cases really:

  • You received a notification a server is down, but it is up already again?
  • You sent off a request and it was received, reviewed and subsequently approved?
  • One by one colleagues have accepted a calendar invite?

In all these situations you’d receive individual emails every time something happens. But in Now Assistant every time a newer status is available, just like a personal assistant would do, the old notifications will be recalled. And your workplace Zen remains preserved.

3. Instead of juggling too many logins, just go and find all your tools in one place

It is not uncommon for large organizations to use several dozen different applications, and even the individual employee often juggles 11 or more systems on a daily basis. This can make it hard to remember what application holds what data, where the application itself sits, and how you can log into it. In other words: Another oft-overlooked source of workplace misery.

Not so in Now Assistant. As a smart assistant for work it does three things that get you to the tools you need faster.

  1. With support for multiple SSO products that can simultaneously match identities across them you are always logged into everything. That’s one problem down.
  2. You can subscribe to Cards you find anywhere to either receive updates in your stream, or see a persistent Card with the latest information on your “Board” so you can create your own dashboard of sorts.
  3. Even if you don’t currently have a matching Card pinned to your Board, you can always search for one with the built-in and AI powered search or start any other business application from within Now Assistant (already logged in, as per point 1).

4. Instead of keyboard, mouse or computer, discover the best UI for work: Your voice.

Sci-fi movies suggest that in the future all our work will be minimalist with invisible devices and holographic UIs.

But what can you do for minimalism at work today? Well, how about ditching your keyboard, mouse and laptop altogether? Do you think you could do that with your intranet? Well, it is possible with Now Assistant. It uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and understands voice commands to serve Cards and read out answers to your questions. But technically this still means you’ll have to click a microphone button or similar.

Except that we also sport an Amazon Alexa skill, Cortana skill or Google Assistant Action – so all you need in order to invoke your virtual assistant is a smart speaker. Just say “Alexa, ask Now Assistant what’s for lunch today.” and there you go: Sci-fi future delivered today. You’re welcome!

Minimalist UX with voice instead of keyboard or mouse

There you have it, these are 4 radical new ways that minimalists can use workplace applications to go about their day more focused and relaxed, yet have all data at their disposal at any time.

Let’s see if we can treat your Intranet to some well-deserved minimalism. Fill out the form below.

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