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Microsoft: Workers want to leverage AI to lessen workload

A study by Microsoft shows that given the opportunity, 78% of respondents in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region would like to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to help them in reducing the amount of workload.

The 2023 Work Trend Index surveyed 31,000 people across industries in 31 countries including 14 Asia Pacific. Microsoft also analyzed trillions of signals from emails, meetings, and chats across Microsoft 365, plus labor trends on LinkedIn. 

The analyzed data show that the pace of work has accelerated faster than humans can keep up, and it’s impacting innovation. It found that 72% of people in the region say they don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done, and those people are 3x more likely to say they struggled with being innovative incurring them digital debt.

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Of the time spent in Microsoft 365, the average person spends 57% communicating and only 43% creating. And the top productivity disruption is inefficient meetings.

Analytics and creatives

Microsoft believes that next-generation AI will lift the weight of work from the workforce. Organizations that move first to embrace AI will break the cycle — increasing creativity and productivity for everyone. 

However, the study also found that 58% of respondents in the region are worried about AI replacing their jobs.

In APAC, 3 in 4 people would be comfortable using AI not just for administrative tasks but also for analytical work and creative aspects of their role. Managers are almost twice more likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount. 

“AI represents a whole new way of working, as it moves from autopilot to copilot, freeing us from digital debt and fuelling innovation,” said Muralidharan.

AI aptitude

While AI has been around for a while, some organizations have not adopted it to their applications. The study found that 85% of leaders in APAC anticipate employees will need new skills in the AI era while 71% of respondents in the region say currently they don’t have the right capabilities to get their work done. 

“The most pressing opportunity and responsibility for every leader are to understand how to leverage AI to remove the drudgery of work, unleash creativity, and build AI aptitude,” Vinod Muralidharan, Asia general manager of Modern Work, Microsoft, said in a statement. “As work evolves with AI, so must we.”