The pace of work has outstripped human capacity, affecting innovation
Microsoft Corp. has introduced Microsoft 365 Copilot, a generative AI tool, to its suite of applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. The company is expanding access to the Copilot preview and introducing new features. In conjunction with this announcement, Microsoft released insights from its 2023 Work Trend Index report, titled “Will AI Fix Work?”
The Work Trend Index report surveyed 31,000 individuals across industries in 31 countries, including 14 Asia Pacific markets, and analyzed trillions of signals from emails, meetings, chats, and labor trends on Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. The findings indicate that the pace of work has outstripped human capacity, affecting innovation. The report suggests that next-generation AI can alleviate the burden of work, leading to increased creativity and productivity.
Vinod Muralidharan, General Manager Modern Work at Microsoft Asia, highlighted the transformative potential of AI in the workplace. He emphasized the need for leaders to leverage AI to remove mundane tasks, foster creativity, and develop AI skills among employees.
The report offers three key insights for business leaders:
- Digital debt hinders innovation: The volume of data, emails, and chats has surpassed our ability to process it efficiently, resulting in digital debt. This debt affects productivity, with 72 per cent of individuals in the Asia Pacific region reporting a lack of time and energy to complete their work, making them three times more likely to struggle with innovation. The average person spends 57 per cent of their Microsoft 365 time on communication and only 43 per cent on creation. Inefficient meetings were identified as the top productivity disruption.
- AI-employee alliance: Employees prioritize the promise of relief over fears of job displacement, while managers seek to empower employees with AI rather than replace them. Although 58 per cent of respondents in Asia Pacific expressed concerns about AI replacing their jobs, 78 per cent would delegate tasks to AI to reduce their workloads. Three out of four people in the region are comfortable using AI for not just administrative tasks but also analytical and creative aspects of their roles. Leaders are more likely to see AI as valuable for boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount.
- AI aptitude for all employees: All employees, not just AI experts, will need to develop core competencies to thrive in the AI era. Leaders anticipate that 85 per cent of employees in the Asia Pacific region will require new AI-related skills. However, 71 per cent of individuals currently feel they lack the necessary capabilities to perform their work. The demand for an AI-centric skillset will impact everything from resumes to job postings.
To support businesses in the AI era, Microsoft is launching the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program for select enterprise customers. They are also introducing new capabilities to Copilot and Microsoft Viva, such as Copilot in Whiteboard, Copilot in PowerPoint with DALL-E integration for custom image creation, Copilot in Outlook for email writing guidance, Copilot in OneNote for drafting plans and organizing information, and Copilot in Viva Learning for personalized learning journeys.
Additionally, Microsoft is rolling out the Semantic Index for Copilot to all Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers, aiming to assist customers in becoming AI-ready.