IBM today launched Watson Works, a curated set of products and services to help businesses return to the office.

The solution embeds Watson’s artificial intelligence (AI) models and applications to help organizations prioritize human health, productivity and data privacy, according to a June 18 press release.

“We’ve designed Watson Works to help businesses navigate the workplace with the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis as effectively as possible,” said Bob Lord, senior vice-president, cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, IBM. “Applying AI models and applications is especially useful in this context, where there are so many different sources of information businesses must consider, and every aspect of the situation is in flux.”   

The ongoing pandemic has created significant challenges for businesses around the world as they had to restructure their workforces in accordance with the government’s stay-at-home orders. However, as those orders are being eased-out in Canada and a few other countries and many employees start returning to the physical workplace, a new set of challenges must be addressed. Businesses around the world are investing in new wellbeing initiatives and safety protocols aimed at helping their employees navigate a changing work environment. But amid a health crisis, social unrest, and economic uncertainty, many employees simply aren’t feeling comfortable returning to the office.

Forty-seven per cent of American workers say changing workplace safety measures will make them more comfortable returning to the office, according to the Workforce Pulse Survey conducted by PwC, which polled more than 1,000 American workers nationwide earlier this month. The results reveal the need for leaders to change how they’re connecting with their employees and better understand what they can do to make them feel more confident to return to work.

IBM says Watson Works will help companies communicate quickly with employees and stakeholders, maximize the effectiveness of contact tracing, manage facilities, and optimize space allocation and help ensure safety compliance.

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