The AI Impact on Employee Wellbeing:
The rapid advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionised the way businesses operate by streamlining processes and boosting efficiency. However, this technological evolution has had both positive and negative impacts. But what will be the AI impact on employee wellbeing and the future of work? As AI becomes increasingly integrated into our 9-5s, it is essential to explore the potential benefits and drawbacks it poses for the wellbeing of employees.
You might be wondering why employee wellbeing is such a big concern or what employee wellbeing consists of. If so, check out one of our latest articles revealing the top employers for workplace wellbeing, which explains the key benefits.
Automation of Repetitive Tasks:
One of the most significant advantages of AI in the workplace is its ability to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. By taking over such responsibilities, employees can focus on more meaningful and intellectually stimulating work. This shift can lead to higher job satisfaction and increased engagement among workers. This can also help employees achieve a better work-life balance, as they can allocate more time to their personal lives and hobbies, ultimately contributing to enhanced wellbeing.
However, eliminating repetitive tasks means that the services of some employees will no longer be necessary. A negative AI impact on employee wellbeing could transpire in employees fearing redundancy, resulting in heightened stress and anxiety about their future employability, negatively affecting their mental health and their ability to produce good work.
The trend of AI replacing humans is only going to continue as AI becomes more powerful. Previously AI only carried out low-skill, repetitive maintenance tasks, whereas now machine learning has made AI is capable of taking on more complex and varied tasks.
Chat GPT is a prime example; it can write articles, CV’s, cover letters, create slogans and branding material, all in a few seconds and mostly for free. Meaning that many marketing and journalist roles may be on the chopping block in the next few years. The consequence of this is already taking place with strikes where workers are demanding better pay, but also more job security as a result of over 4000 jobs being replaced by AI in just one month alone. This statistic alone could suggest the negative AI impact on employee wellbeing.
Personalised Learning and Development:
AI-driven learning platforms can analyse employees’ strengths and weaknesses, providing personalised training and development programs. By tailoring these opportunities to individual needs, employees can enhance their skills and career prospects, leading to a sense of fulfilment and self-improvement.
Many training programs such as health and safety are now partially or full online, making training more flexible for both the employer and the employee. However, this does lead to a lack of human interaction in some industries which is becoming a problem worldwide.
Humans are social creatures, we need at least some human interaction to function properly, the absence of meaningful connections can impact social wellbeing and contribute to feelings of loneliness and detachment. Both of which can have a negative impact on productivity, absenteeism, and attrition rates. So as a business, it may be worth taking a step back and considering whether you are doing enough to look out for your employee’s wellbeing, and taking time to understand the AI impact on employee wellbeing. If you would like help with finding a solution, or even just analysing your workplace in terms of wellbeing, you can book a call with Your People Power now.
Enhanced Safety in Hazardous Environments:
AI-powered systems can improve workplace safety by monitoring potentially dangerous environments, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. This contributes to employees’ physical wellbeing and overall peace of mind while on the job.
Examples of this are most visible in manufacturing with machinery having failsafe’s in place to minimise the likelihood of an employee getting injured while on the job. Such as a machine detecting a human hand; this can be seen with modern shredders which will automatically stop shredding if they sense a human hand (or finger) getting too close.
This can greatly improve employee wellbeing in high-stress work environments where employees have to work very carefully to ensure they are not injured, because they do not need to be on edge at all times.
However, this can lead to a false sense of security; machines are not perfect, they can malfunction. This can lead to employees being careless in the workplace, and although this is not the AI’s fault, it should be considered when implementing or using AI to enhance the safety of work. Overall, this could be a positive AI impact on employee wellbeing from a psychological perspective as employees feel safer at work.
Data Privacy Concerns:
AI relies heavily on data collection and analysis, raising concerns about employee privacy. If not adequately addressed, these privacy concerns can create mistrust between employees and employers, adversely affecting the psychological wellbeing of workers.
Many firms such as Facebook have been publicly criticised for selling sensitive data, while others have had data breaches resulting in customer and employee data being leaked. As incredible as AI is with its ability to store, process, and use large sets of data, having such large quantities of valuable information in one place does make it a very attractive target for criminals. Leaks of personal data could have a very negative AI impact on employee wellbeing, but also on customer trust – making it difficult for current and future customers to trust your brand.
Over-Reliance and Deskilling:
Another negative AI impact on employee wellbeing and performance at work, might result in over-reliance on the AI leading to a deskilling of the workforce, as employees may become too dependent on AI for decision-making and problem-solving. This can cause reduced job satisfaction, as employees feel disengaged and unchallenged in their roles. Furthermore, this can result in worse-quality work as employees put less effort into their job.
Showing again that just an introduction of AI into the workplace is not good enough, it has to be introduced in the right way, by the right people, and with the right guidelines to ensure that it is helping employees and the business improve. Otherwise this could become a negative AI impact on employee wellbeing.
Final Thoughts on the AI Impact on Employee Wellbeing:
AI’s impact on employee wellbeing is a double-edged sword, offering both benefits and challenges. While AI can streamline processes, improve work-life balance, and enhance safety, it can also lead to job insecurity, reduced human interaction, and privacy concerns. To harness the positive potential of AI on employee wellbeing, organisations must strike a delicate balance between implementing AI-driven solutions and maintaining a supportive, human-centric work environment. Prioritising employee engagement, training, and upskilling will be crucial in ensuring AI’s positive impacts outweigh its negatives and lead to a thriving workforce.
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If you are part of a workplace doing great things in the area of workplace wellbeing and employee wellness and would like to be featured in a future article, please get in touch with one of our team today, or contact us here. We love to learn and share details of companies doing fantastic things to support their people. Also, if you have any thoughts to share on the AI impact on employee wellbeing, feel free to leave a comment below.
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