Amidst an ‘always-online’ culture, many employees tend to bring office work home and remain glued to their gadgets even on weekends — experts explain a possible solution
Employees in the UAE and around the world are combating ‘digital debt’ as work goes digital and an ‘always-online’ culture becomes the norm for many.
Now, people take office work to their homes in the form of e-mails and chats with their colleagues and seniors, leaving them with little time to be more creative in the things they do and also impacting their work-life balance.
As tasks increasingly go digital, UAE employees claim that besides working non-stop on regular days, they’re glued to their gadgets even on weekends, conversing with their customers and seniors to meet their targets.
“We are all carrying digital debt: The volume of data, e-mails and chats that employees have to deal with on a daily basis has outpaced their ability to process it all,” said Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index Report.
It said the pace of employees’ work has accelerated far faster than they can keep up with; hence, they are eager to push the majority of their workloads to artificial intelligence (AI) in order to have more time for creative and fulfilling tasks.
The pace of work, it said, is only intensifying. “Everything feels important, so we spend our workdays trying to get out of the red. Nearly two in three – 64 per cent – say they struggle with having the time and energy to do their job.”
Using AI to their advantage
Interestingly, employees are concerned that AI could replace their jobs. But on the other hand, others are using it to their advantage to increase their productivity and stay relevant in the competitive job market.
A Microsoft report revealed that 49 per cent of employees were worried that AI will replace their jobs, but 70 per cent said that they would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads. The data also found that leaders were more focused on the potential of integrating AI into their workplace.
Around 76 per cent said that they would be comfortable using AI for administrative tasks, but most people were also open to using it for analytical and even creative work.
Naim Yazbeck, general manager of Microsoft UAE, said there is a growing concern among both employees and employers on how maximising productivity often leaves them with little time for more creative and innovative work.
“A large number of professionals in the workforce today are looking forward to next-generation AI helping to lift the weight of work. However, for this to happen, business leaders have to ensure that they are empowering their employees with the skills necessary to properly and responsibly leverage AI,” said Yazbeck.
David Jones, CEO of The Talent Enterprise and author of The Future of Assessments, said the rapid evolution of the working environment and technological innovations have compelled organisations to fundamentally re-evaluate their working practices.
“The talent assessment industry is ripe for fundamental positive disruption going forward. Harnessing the power of new technologies like AI, machine learning (ML), virtual reality (VR), and the metaverse, will be crucial in identifying attributes that can make a significant impact on an organisation’s productivity and performance,” he said.