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Burnout driving workers to turn to AI despite lack of boss awareness

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In Short:

According to a recent report by Microsoft and LinkedIn, white-collar workers are increasingly turning to AI tools to manage their digital workload, despite lack of company training. 75% of desk job workers are already using AI, with usage doubling in the past six months. The report highlights worker overload, burnout, and a desire to quit jobs, emphasizing the need for AI skills in today’s workplace. Microsoft continues to develop AI tools like Copilot to assist workers in managing their tasks.

White-Collar Workers Turn to AI Tools in Overwhelming Work Environment

According to a work trends index published by Microsoft and LinkedIn, white-collar workers are increasingly turning to AI tools to cope with the high volume of emails, web chats, and meetings, even without formal training from their companies.

Key Findings: Seventy-five percent of desk job employees are utilizing AI at work, with this number nearly doubling over the past six months. The majority of workers are using their own AI tools to manage their workload, reflecting the growing trend of individuals seeking assistance to alleviate work-related stress.

Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft chatbot Copilot, highlighted the reliance on AI among workers as a response to feeling overwhelmed and under duress in the workplace. Microsoft, as the owner of LinkedIn, is capitalizing on the increased adoption of generative AI tools.

Survey Insights

The report is based on a survey of 31,000 desk job workers across 31 countries and incorporates data from LinkedIn, Microsoft 365, and Fortune 500 companies. The research explores the impact of generative AI on workplace dynamics since the introduction of tools like ChatGPT in late 2022.

Despite initial concerns about AI replacing jobs, the report indicates a different scenario—overworked employees seeking AI solutions independently, while companies lag in providing formal training in AI utilization.

Challenges Faced by Workers

The report paints a grim picture of worker overload, with nearly 70 percent of respondents struggling with work pace and volume, leading to burnout in almost half of the workforce. Microsoft 365 users spend a significant portion of their day in communication tasks, signaling a need for AI tools to streamline workflow.

Additionally, job dissatisfaction is prevalent, with 46 percent of workers expressing a desire to leave their current positions. Acquiring AI skills may become essential for job seekers in the evolving workplace landscape.

Future Outlook and Adoption of AI

While AI usage is rapidly increasing among office workers, its widespread adoption may progress at a slower pace. A Pew survey earlier this year revealed that only 20 percent of US adults have utilized ChatGPT for work, though this number has risen from 12 percent in mid-2023.

In conjunction with the report, Microsoft unveiled enhancements to its Copilot tool, such as an autocomplete function for improved chatbot interactions. Other features include a rewrite function to provide context to prompts and a personalized “catch up” interface for reminders and preparation information.

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