How Is AI Impacting Workplaces And Employee Morale?

With AI becoming the buzzword in the world of work, Microsoft Work Trend Index 2023 provides some important insights on the impact it is creating


AI is radically changing the way people are working. While concerns are being raised about its impact on job market and on originality of ideas, a large segment of workforce think otherwise and feel that AI technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing and robotics have the potential to automate repetitive tasks, augment human capabilities and streamline processes in office environments. 

The findings from the ‘Microsoft Work Trend Index 2023’, presented by Bhaskar Basu, Country Head – Modern Work, Microsoft India, provide insight as to how employees and leaders in India are thinking and experiencing work in this age of AI. 

Some key findings of the report are: 

  • 78 per cent of workforce in India say that they don’t have enough uninterrupted focus during their workday. And 76 per cent of workforce say they don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done. Also, more than 3 in 4 Indian leaders (84%) say they’re concerned about lack of innovation.
  • 83 per cent of people in India would delegate as much work as possible to AI, indicating that a new AI-employee alliance is emerging.
  • 90 per cent of leaders in India say that employees need to build AI aptitude to be prepared.

Is AI shaping future of workplaces? 

AI has existed for 70 years and is believed to have gone through phases of evolution and development. “Beginning with typewriters in the offices, to computers, the invention of the phone and data in the cloud, AI is just one more step on the journey,” said Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President and Head – Human Resources, Infosys. He added that one should not view it as something which is separate from a part of the evolution.

Merlyn Mathew, Head - Delivery Excellence & Talent Management, Persistent Systems, was of the belief that there is going to be a fundamental change in the way people work and access information, but it can only happen with the fusion of technology and human capability. “It is believed that in times to come, AI will be a multiplier of human capability. This will help us unleash a lot more productivity, creativity and bring new skills to work. Though there will be job losses, but some tasks will be automated and some will be assisted by freeing up people to do exactly what they like to do,” she shared.

We should be open to ideas, because as people experiment and also since AI is at a stage of experimentation, none of us really know where it will go and how it will evolve. This will bring about a big change in the way we interact with each other at workplace. There will definitely be a transformation of HR processes which will enhance the way employees experience the workplace, which in turn should boost creativity.

“AI is another inflection point in the tech journey and people are the single most important factor in using AI. Fundamentally we should be open to experimentation and not just viewing AI as substitution for human work,” stressed Basu.

Can AI become force of empowerment and experience for employees’ burnout?

While AI intervention can contribute to burnout in certain cases, it can also be harnessed to support employees and create a more balanced work environment. But Lobo on the other hand felt that employee burnout is not really related to technology. He explained that this is a problem of how we work and what are our weaknesses; what are our uncertainties and what impacts us.

AI will definitely help, provided it’s using human intelligence. Therefore, it is apt to believe that AI has to work with the human to make the work world better. But without that also, leaders definitely need to address this issue of the impact of increased pressure, the increased domination of technology. Mathew was of the similar view, “When we think of the workplace, we have to think of humans first, as this is a time for us to relook at what is creative.”

Burnout is about a people-first approach, not a tech first approach. And employee experience is the ultimate key, where technological intervention can only be an enabler.

The road ahead 

It is important to have a foundation in terms of responsible AI. It is important to train our modules and usage around removing bias. AI can never be a standalone entity but AI as a copilot having the human in the loop is very important and at Microsoft, there is a very important fundamental in their AI design. They believe humans need to be in charge as the pilot, as the navigator of the journey of the strategy of the expression of the work and AI can be a very responsible ally if of course expressed well through responsible AI practices.

Today it is more important than ever to drive human experience, to connect with employees, to energise them, to address burnout by empowering them to flourish in a people first environment and really using tech as a supplement to the people first approach.

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World