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Despite AI Enthusiasm, Workers Aren’t Unlocking Benefits

Using artificial intelligence (AI) at work is associated with numerous positive outcomes, from improved productivity to higher employee satisfaction. Yet, executive urgency to integrate AI into workflows is outpacing its use among employees, according to a global survey of desk workers from the Workforce Lab at Slack, a Salesforce company. The report finds that two-thirds of workers have still not tried AI tools and 93% do not consider AI outputs completely trustworthy for work-related tasks.  

“The data shows that employees using AI are having an all-around markedly better time on the job,” says Christina Janzer, head of the Workforce Lab. “They’re not just more productive; they’re experiencing greater excitement, fulfillment, and pride in their work. Leaders should take note that using AI at work is correlated with a host of positive associations.”  

Key findings from the report are below.  

  • Executive urgency to incorporate AI tools into business operations has increased seven times over the past six months and is now a top concern above inflation or the broader economy.  
  • Among desk workers who use AI tools, 81% say it’s improving their productivity. Those who use AI show higher employee engagement and experience scores across the board, including 22% higher overall satisfaction.  
  • Two-thirds of desk workers have never used AI at work, and nearly two in five say their company has no AI usage guidelines.  
  • Just 7% of desk workers consider the outputs of AI completely trustworthy for work-related tasks, with 35% of desk workers saying AI results are only slightly or not at all trustworthy.  
  • There’s an AI gender gap emerging, and it’s the latest among Gen Z. While young people are most likely to have experienced with AI tools, Gen Z men are 25% more likely to have tried AI tools compared with Gen Z women.  
  • Desk workers report spending a third of their day on average tasks that they consider low-value. Troublingly, instead of allocating the time saved by AI towards strategic or high-value activities like learning or skill-building, employees are likely to spend 37% more of their time on routine administrative tasks.  
  • The AI hype shows no sign of slowing down, with 73% of desk workers saying that the hype is warranted and the technology will have a big impact. Those who have already tried AI are even more convinced.  

“Companies have urgent, ambitious goals for AI in the enterprise and our research shows there are huge productivity benefits to be gained, but many leaders are still figuring out how to kickstart adoption among employees,” says Denise Dresser, CEO of Slack. “While this is truly a seismic shift in the future of work, there are simple steps every business can take to help onboard employees on AI while maintaining trust.”  

To encourage uptake of AI among employees, Slack’s report suggests three steps to support adoption: 

  • clarify permission to adopt AI by establishing clear usage guidelines; 
  • provide education on the use of AI; and 
  • train employees in how to understand and use AI tools to their benefit.  
Tags: AI, Future of Work

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