The rapid advancement of AI technologies is transforming the way we work and collaborate. In recent years, AI has gone mainstream. For most of us, it’s no longer a science fiction concept but a tangible and useful tool for everyday life. Chatbots, virtual assistants and other forms of AI have become ubiquitous.
The recent hype around advanced AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E has also sparked a lot of debate in the media and put AI firmly in the spotlight.
In light of this growing popularity and prominence, RingCentral collaborated with Ipsos, a multinational market research and consulting firm, to explore how Brits feel about AI. In 2023, Ipsos surveyed 1,000 UK residents aged 21-65 who work full-time (defined as working full-time, having two part-time jobs, or being self-employed full-time.) These were the key findings.
1. Workers are increasingly optimistic about AI
As AI has become more commonplace (24% of business decision makers say AI is already being used in their industry) many British workers are feeling optimistic about it. More than a fifth (22%) are excited about using AI in the workplace and more than a quarter (26%) say AI will make their job easier and better. In contrast, less than one in five (15%) are nervous that it will take their job.
As attitudes towards AI shift and become more positive, we would encourage business leaders to take advantage of this optimism and consider how they implement this technology to unlock value, efficiencies and productivity.
2. Decision makers are most convinced
There was a significant difference in attitude between decision-makers and non decision-makers. While 40% of decision makers think AI will make their jobs easier or better, this dropped to 21% for non decision-makers. This might be down to non-decision-makers feeling less informed about AI: 14% said they didn’t understand it (compared to 10% of decision makers) and 44% were unsure about the most valuable AI capabilities (compared to only 17% of decision makers.)
To bridge this gap in understanding, businesses should consider investing in educating employees about AI, its applications, and its potential impact on their roles. Proper training will empower employees to tap into AI effectively and address any misconceptions.
3. Younger workers are generally more positive
Attitudes to AI vary according to the age of workers. Half (49%) of those aged 21-34 years old believe AI and technological advances will have a positive impact on the workforce. However, this percentage declines in the older age brackets, dropping to 26% for those aged 45-54 and 17% for those aged 55-65.
As the demographic of workplaces shifts and those generations who have grown up with technology enter more senior roles, we think there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to put in place the AI technologies that Gen Z and Millennials will come to expect as standard in the future.
However, organisations should also acknowledge concerns around AI and address those proactively. Allowing employees to participate in the AI-driven transformation journey and ensuring they feel involved in the decision-making process will be important here. This could mean, for instance, enabling employees to experiment with AI-based solutions and come up with their own ideas for service innovation. A culture of open communication will be crucial.
Through these approaches, businesses can help foster a positive outlook on AI adoption and its potential benefits.
4. AI is most valued for freeing up time and learning new skills
There were a range of opinions on the value of AI for certain aspects of work. Overall, respondents were most excited by AI’s potential to free up their time (28%), help them learn new skills (23%), and help them with quality assurance (19%). 18% felt it could also make customer service more efficient and allow them to be more creative.
To achieve these benefits, workers say that the most valuable AI capabilities in the workplace would be virtual assistance (28%), note-taking and transcription (22%) and knowledge management (21%).
Embracing AI in your business
This survey provides valuable insights into people’s attitudes and expectations about AI in the workplace. Given the rapid evolution of AI, businesses need to adapt and embrace this technology now to stay competitive. However, businesses must also prioritise clear communication, collaboration, and education to ensure a smooth transition into this new era.
AI already has the potential to:
- enhance customer service, through chatbots and virtual assistants that can provide personalised, real-time support;
- streamline business processes, by automating routine tasks and simplifying workflows, thereby freeing up employees’ time to focus on higher-value, strategic work;
- improve collaboration, communication and decision-making across teams;
- and much, much more.
RingCentral users are already realising benefits like these, thanks to built-in AI features, such as live transcription and auto-generated meetings summaries, as well as intelligent routing, AI-enabled virtual agents, and advanced AI-driven agent assistance in RingCentral Contact Centre. Investing in tools such as these – alongside open communication, education and a culture of innovation – will help organisations maximise the benefits of AI technology and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Originally published Jul 12, 2023