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AI usage up 66 percent – but the right tasks aren’t being offloaded

AI usage in UK workplaces is up 66% since September 2023. However, instead of allocating time saved by AI toward strategic or high-value activities, like building skills, the #1 activity workers expect to prioritise with the time saved by AI is administrative tasks.

AI usage in UK workplaces is up 66% since September 2023, and 18% since the beginning of this year*. Excitement among workers is also rising, with 44% of office workers expressing enthusiasm about using AI in their daily work. 

However, the survey reveals that employees may lack the right training to capitalise on AI efficiencies. Instead of allocating time saved by AI toward strategic or high-value activities, like building skills, the #1 activity workers expect to prioritise with the time saved by AI is administrative tasks. A trust barrier may also be hampering use, with 94% of UK desk workers not considering AI outputs completely trustworthy for work-related tasks. 

The Slack survey found:

Desk workers suffer from busywork and burnout

UK employees are feeling the grind and report spending large chunks of their day on mundane tasks.

  • Most desk workers (64%) experience burnout once a month or more.
  • 31% of workers do not feel passion for their job.
  • People spend a third of their day on tasks that are “not meaningful to their job,” such as unnecessary meetings, low-value emails, and excessive paperwork or data entry.

AI excitement and adoption is on the rise

Workers are embracing AI more all the time and increasingly excited about using it in their daily work.

  • AI use among UK desk workers is up 18% since January and 66% since September.
  • Nearly half (44%) of UK desk workers express enthusiasm about AI handling tasks from their job.

Despite AI’s promise to reduce busywork, workers continue to prioritise admin over high-value work 

When asked how workers plan to spend their time saved by AI, the answer wasn’t promising.

  • The #1 activity workers expect to prioritise with the time saved by AI is administrative tasks.
  • High-value, professional development tasks like innovating, creating and networking with colleagues sat further down on the list. 
  • However, 85% of those using AI still say they are seeing productivity gains.

Trust and knowledge gaps hold workers back from fully leveraging AI 

UK workers are excited about AI but don’t yet trust it to take over tasks at work.

  • 94% of desk workers do not consider AI outputs completely trustworthy for work-related tasks.
  • Only 12% of workers strongly agree that they have the education and training necessary to use AI effectively.

Businesses must empower their workforce to use AI effectively

For workers to trust and delegate tasks to AI, companies must train their workforce on how to get the most out of it. 

  • Guidance: Desk workers at companies that have established permissions for AI use are over 6x more likely to have experimented with AI tools.
  • Training: Those who are trained to use AI are nearly 5x times more likely to report that AI is improving their productivity.

Christina Janzer, Head of Slack Workforce Labs said: “We’re at a crucial turning point with AI. If we want to make the most of what AI can offer without just ramping up stress and burnout, it’s on us as leaders to equip our teams with tools they can trust and help employees steer that extra time into the most rewarding and impactful work.

“As more people across the UK get used to working with AI, we can expect to see a shift in how employees make the most of their time at work . Investing more time in skills development and deepening relationships with colleagues is only going to accelerate the productivity impact of the technology. If they can provide the right training and support, UK businesses can unlock a smarter, simpler and more satisfying way of working.”

*Slack’s Workforce Index

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