31% business leaders want AI to increase productivity

Only 16% business leaders will choose AI for reducing headcount


Amidst all this talk of artificial intelligence set to eat up jobs, here’s a study that reveals how employees and business leaders are keen to enjoy the benefits of AI. And what benefits would that be? Surely not getting more work done with a smaller workforce. Absolutely not! The ‘2023 Work Trend Index: Annual Report’ by Microsoft says that business leaders are twice more likely to opt for ‘increasing employee productivity’ than ‘reducing headcount’ when asked which benefit of AI they would prefer in the workplace.

The answers received from about 31,000 people from over 31 countries were a surprising revelation. Unlike what was assumed, business leaders and employees are waiting to embrace AI with open arms. Only 16 per cent employers seemed to choose AI for reducing headcount, while a significant 31 per cent wanted AI to increase employee productivity!

About 29 per cent wanted AI to help employees with relevant repetitive and routine/mundane tasks, while 26 per cent wanted employees’ wellbeing to increase. Only 18 per cent hoped AI would increase inclusivity, while 20 per cent looked forward to AI removing the coordination challenges that come with hybrid work, such as scheduling of meetings virtually. About 21 per cent wanted AI to help them understand whether the work of the employees was aligned to the organisation’s goals. Another 21 per cent wanted AI to help their employees access and recall institutional knowledge. A good 24 per cent wished for AI to increase the pace of work, while 24 per cent wanted AI to enhance or further augment human capabilities. Twenty-five per cent employers wish to eliminate the time spent by their employee on activities of little value.

Clearly, employers and organisational leaders are keen to empower people with AI instead of replacing them. They are more interested in using artificial intelligence (AI) to increase productivity than to trim the workforce.

People are clearly looking forward to AI helping them produce high-quality work in half the time, for 33 per cent of those surveyed said so. About 26 per cent were keen to be able to understand the most valuable ways to spend their time, post embracing AI, while 25 per cent wanted to know of ways to spend the energy that AI would help them save. A good 23 per cent respondents were looking forward to never having to waste their valuable brains in trying to take in unnecessary or irrelevant information.

In the near future, 30 per cent people are keen to let AI help them learn new skills doubly fast, while 21 per cent are sure AI will cut the frequency of meetings by 50 per cent. About 23 per cent are looking forward to cutting the time spent on phone calls and e-mail by half. Twenty-one per cent want to be able to recall data or content from previous meetings or e-mails with AI’s help. Seventeen per cent want to rely on AI to summarise their meetings and actions for them. About 19 per cent are happy that with AI they will never have to search for information again. Additionally, people are waiting to unleash their creativity with AI coming into the picture. About 15 per cent are looking forward to never having to create a first draft of any Word document or PowerPoint or mail again. About 14 per cent are keen to outsource the execution to see their ideas taking shape. What’s more there will be no writer’s block ever.

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