A new report from work management platform Asana has shed light on both the opportunities and challenges around the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in UK workplaces.

The study, titled ‘The State of AI at Work’, surveyed over 4,500 knowledge workers across the UK and US to understand current attitudes and experience with AI. It found that 36% of UK employees are now using some form of AI tool at least weekly in their jobs, whether for data analysis, administrative tasks, or collaboration.

When it comes to leadership perspectives, 61% of British executives believe that AI will help their organisation more effectively reach its objectives compared to traditional work practices. Over half are even willing to pay a premium for workplace tools that incorporate AI capabilities. Many see potential for AI to automate repetitive tasks or provide insights through data analytics.

However, the research also uncovered challenges that must be addressed for UK firms and employees to fully benefit from these emerging technologies. Despite growing adoption, only 13% of UK companies currently provide training to staff on how to utilise AI in their roles. This lags behind the 23% of American firms that offer such guidance.

As a result, many British employees do not feel sufficiently supported in their use of AI. Close to half want more guidance from employers on appropriate and effective AI usage. Over a quarter worry that leveraging AI tools may be perceived negatively by colleagues.

“We are moving into a new phase of AI’s role in our workplaces,” commented Saket Srivastava, Chief Information Officer at Asana. “Our study shows that more employees are now embracing AI at work. Employees see the potential of AI to save time and help them focus on more strategic tasks. However, there are clear obstacles, with some employees harboring concerns about how their AI use could be perceived by peers and managers. Employees can’t navigate this AI shift alone. They need clear guidelines to understand AI’s role in their functions, along with tailored training and accessible technologies to fully harness AI’s capabilities. Organizations that get this right will leverage AI in a way that unlocks new levels of human ingenuity.”

Transparency was also found to be important, with 59% of UK knowledge workers citing a company’s openness about its AI strategies as a key consideration when deciding where to work.

The report concludes that while AI adoption holds promise to enhance productivity and outcomes, more must be done to establish best practices, educate staff, and build trust around the appropriate role of humans and machines. How organisations address these societal and ethical issues could determine how successful they are in applying AI to meet strategic objectives.

To learn more about how AI expectations are evolving in the workplace, read Asana’s State of AI at Work Report here.