A Transformative Shift: How AI Is Changing the Way We Work

With todays’ AI tools, the eradication of 'digital debt' becomes an achievable reality and a better way to work is closer than we think.

The platform shift to AI is well underway, bringing with it a big opportunity to redefine and reshape work. For large and small businesses in need of ways to deal with today’s increased rate and volume of work, the change couldn’t come fast enough. “The simple reality is the pace of work has accelerated faster than humans can keep up with,” says Jason Brommet, Microsoft’s head of Modern Work & Surface, Americas. 

That reality is validated in Microsoft’s 2023 Annual Work Trend Index, which provides a picture of what the new era of AI means for work. When people are struggling under the weight of their work, that puts innovation at risk. “We all have this technology debt—we are just inundated from the number of devices to emails to different apps,” says Brommet. “At Microsoft, we truly believe that AI will help lift that burden. AI will be the defining technology of our time and impact every industry, every business, every type of work.”

AI-powered tools have the capacity to help alleviate digital debt and empower employees to make time for more meaningful tasks. “There are things that we, as humans, are exceptionally great at like creative thinking and collaboration,” says Brommet. “And there are things that computers and machines can be innately more productive and more effective with. It’s really about how we develop this AI ecosystem where we coexist together and create more engaged workforces, which is ultimately what most organizations are after.”

More time for the tasks that matter

The Work Trend Index found that 62 per cent of employees report spending too much time searching for information, communicating and coordinating, meaning they have less time for deep thinking, creating and collaboration. And more that half of Canadians surveyed say they don’t have enough time and energy to do their job. Those same employees are 4 times more likely to struggle with strategic thinking. The new generation of AI can help automate the mundane and repetitive tasks and let people focus on creativity.

And employees already see the benefit of using AI supports. A staggering 63 per cent of the index survey’s Canadian respondents would choose to delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads.

A new tool of possibilities 

“New AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot learns to work with you, integrating into your flow of work to alleviate that digital debt. Copilot is your partner for work,” says Brommet. “If you think about the natural course of your day, you’re interacting with calendar events, emails and chats, and you’re creating or sharing documents. Copilot basically turns all those apps into the most powerful productivity tool.”

For instance, using Copilot in Whiteboard during Microsoft Teams brainstorming meetings, you can ask Copilot to generate ideas, organize ideas into themes, create designs that bring ideas to life and summarize whiteboard content. 

“Another simple example is telling my team how we updated a product strategy,” says Brommet. “Copilot will generate a status update based on all of the morning meetings, emails and chat threads. And so, if I had to leave the office for a customer meeting, and I missed all of that conversation and collaboration going on in my team, I’m able to ask Business Chat to summarize what I’ve missed. I no longer need to invest valuable time to go and read all of these bits and pieces.”

This technology was developed to support organizations of all sizes, not just large enterprises. It has the potential to be most impactful for small businesses and non-profits where employees often wear many hats and resources can be constrained. AI empowers individuals and businesses to be more efficient without big technical hurdles. “SMBs are poised to benefit massively from this new generation of technology to help them grow and scale,” affirms Brommet. “It’s this interesting inflection point—do you look at AI as a challenge or do you look at it as an opportunity? It’s nothing but an opportunity for small businesses in Canada.”

Click here to learn more about the next generation of AI – Microsoft Copilot – your everyday AI companion that works across your whole life.