Work is changing faster than ever before. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of every industry, creating new opportunities and challenges for workers and organizations. But are we ready for the future of work?

Work Trend Index from Microsoft

According to the latest Work Trend Index from Microsoft, a global survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries and an analysis of Microsoft 365 productivity signals and LinkedIn data, we are facing a paradox: While technology has enabled us to work from anywhere and collaborate across boundaries, it has also created a massive overload of data, emails, meetings, and notifications. These are overwhelming our ability to focus, think creatively, and innovate.

Digital debt

This phenomenon, which Microsoft calls digital debt, is costing us innovation and productivity. Nearly 2 in 3 people (64%) say they struggle with having the time and energy to do their job, and those people are 3.5x more likely to also struggle with innovation and strategic thinking.

But there is hope. The same technology that is creating digital debt can also help us overcome it. The report reveals that the next platform shift in computing is already underway: the rise of AI copilots that will work alongside humans, augmenting their capabilities and transforming their work processes.

Solution: AI copilots

AI copilots are not just assistants that can perform simple tasks or answer questions. They are intelligent agents that can understand context, learn from data, and proactively offer insights and suggestions to help people focus on high-value work and unleash their creativity.

The report shows that workers are eager to embrace AI copilots in their daily work. 7 in 10 workers (70%) say they want more AI-powered tools to help them do their job. And organizations that adopt AI copilots will gain a competitive edge in the market, as they will unleash a new wave of productivity growth and value creation.

But AI copilots are not a silver bullet. They require a new set of skills and mindsets from workers and leaders alike. The report identifies AI aptitude as a critical skill for the future of work. AI aptitude is the ability to use, understand, and learn from AI. It is not just about technical skills, but also about curiosity, empathy, collaboration, and ethics.

The report reveals that only 1 in 4 workers (25%) say they have the skills they need to succeed in the age of AI. And while most workers are willing to learn new skills, they face barriers such as lack of time, resources, or support from their managers.

2023 employee work requirements statistics

AI copilot readiness recommendations

The report concludes by offering some recommendations for leaders and businesses to quickly and responsibly adopt AI copilots in their organizations, such as:

  • Assessing the digital debt in their organization and identifying opportunities to use AI copilots to reduce it
  • Empowering employees with AI copilots that can help them focus on high-value work and creativity
  • Investing in building AI aptitude across their workforce and fostering a culture of learning and experimentation
  • Ensuring ethical and inclusive design and use of AI copilots that respects human dignity and values

The future of work is here. And it is powered by AI. Are you ready?
To learn more about the Work Trend Index and how AI can fix work, download the report.

Wesley Budd

Strategic Partner Manager - Microsoft & MTR Vendors