Published on December 6, 2023, 9:21 am
British employees are showing a strong interest in incorporating generative AI into their work, despite the majority of them having never used it before. According to research from Slack, UK workers have a greater sense of urgency when it comes to adopting generative AI technology compared to their US counterparts.
The study revealed that 60% of UK workers believe there is a high or existential need for generative AI in the workplace, whereas only 44% of US workers feel the same way. As a result, 15% of British workers believe that generative AI should be implemented within the next 18 months to three years, while only 5% of those in the US share the same sentiment.
Interestingly, these figures show that British enthusiasm for generative AI is higher than in other countries as well. In Australia, 57% of workers see the need for this technology, while in Japan the figure stands at 55%. Germany follows with 41%, and France trails behind with just 33%.
Despite this enthusiasm, only a small percentage (19%) of UK employees claim to have actually used AI tools at work. This is the lowest rate among all countries surveyed and suggests that many workers still have concerns about accuracy and trust when it comes to using AI.
Deirdre Byrne, head of UK and Ireland at Slack, emphasized the sense of urgency among British workers to embrace generative AI tools. However, she cautioned that confidence could be an issue for organizations seeking to adopt these technologies. She highlighted the importance of companies having full confidence in data accuracy and trustworthiness before fully embracing AI solutions.
One intriguing aspect highlighted by Slack’s study is that UK workers are less likely than their international counterparts to report productivity boosts from generative AI tools. While 68% of UK workers claimed increased productivity through AI usage, both the US (72%) and Australia (76%) reported higher rates.
German workers were the most likely to report that AI is improving their daily productivity, with 81% of respondents expressing this sentiment. The slower adoption of generative AI tools among UK workers suggests that fewer of them have been able to experience the benefits associated with this technology.
The study also looked at how workers spend their time and found that UK workers who log off at the end of the workday register 10% higher productivity scores compared to those who feel obligated to work after hours. A majority of workers in both the UK (75%) and the US (68%) reported working between 3pm and 6pm, but only a quarter considered these hours highly productive, indicating the reality of the afternoon slump.
Additionally, nearly half of UK and US workers admitted to rarely or never taking breaks. The tipping point for both countries was spending more than two hours a day in meetings, which the majority considered too much.
Byrne suggested that integrating generative AI tools to improve productivity could help overcome the slump affecting workers on both sides of the Atlantic. She stated that once companies reach the trust threshold for AI usage, a productivity revolution will follow. By using AI to augment employees’ work and automate low-value tasks, companies can empower their workforce to take regular breaks and leave on time.
In conclusion, British workers are eagerly embracing generative AI despite having limited exposure to it in their daily work routines. They believe in its potential benefits but recognize that organizational confidence and trust in AI solutions need to be established before widespread adoption can occur. By leveraging generative AI technology effectively, businesses have the opportunity to enhance worker productivity and well-being.