Business Maverick

Business Maverick

UK workers turn to AI seeking better work-life balance

UK workers turn to AI seeking better work-life balance
AI tools and ChatGpt (Photos: iStock | Wikipedia)

Staff are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence to free up more time away from work, research shows.

Almost half of British workers are using generative AI — a technology that became widely accessible less than a year ago — at least once a week. That’s already boosted productivity by outsourcing repetitive, time-consuming tasks to chat bots, according to a survey of 2,002 UK employees in office-based and remote roles conducted by Accenture between 29 August and 1 September. 

Now, the survey suggests, AI efficiency gains are also helping promote work-life balance. Some 30% of employees said they want to spend their freed-up time to increase focus on life outside work, according to the report.  Those results come amid surging mental health issues in the UK, which are costing companies an estimated £6.9-billion (R158.33-billion) in working days lost to long-term illness.

“There will continue to be a strong appetite for AI from office workers, with many exploring it as an opportunity to find greater overall satisfaction in their working lives,” said Emma Kendrew, technology lead for Accenture UK.

Over a quarter of surveyed workers said AI is clearing up their schedules for more quality work. AI is most popular with tasks like administrative and operational processes and data analysis, according to the Accenture report.

This mirrors separate research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found AI drives up productivity, but those benefits are limited to writing or administrative tasks. 

The research also flags a growing generational gap when it comes to AI in the workplace. Only 22% of those aged 55 and over are using the technology at least once a week, almost three times fewer than those aged 18 to 24.

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