The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace has sparked a growing phenomenon known as ‘AI Anxiety.’

As 29 percent of employers have adopted AI technology to replace or augment employees’ roles this year, employees are simultaneously eager to experiment with AI, with 32 percent expressing a desire to adopt AI or an AI assistant within the next two years, according to the latest findings from Owl Labs’ annual State of Hybrid Work Report.

As major technology giants like LinkedIn and Apple spearhead diverse AI approaches in their global efforts to harness the power of AI, questions arise concerning the potential impact on the workplace. A significant portion of employees (32%) believe that AI will enhance their job efficiency, while an additional 22 percent anticipate AI creating new job opportunities that would foster team growth.

However, concerns around AI regulation and safety are breeding ‘AI anxiety,’ with nearly one in five UK workers (17%) fearing that AI will replace their jobs, and an additional 19 percent apprehensive about potential ethical issues arising in the workplace.

AI must be correctly utilised

Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs, comments on this evolving landscape: “The meteoric rise of ChatGPT has propelled AI tools into a new stratosphere, prompting many businesses to understand how they can use AI to make their operations more efficient or build stronger products.

IT leaders must exercise discretion when implementing AI tools, ensuring innovation serves a purpose and allows for current employees’ workload to be streamlined. Clearly communicating company guidelines around the use of AI is essential to building employee trust and reassuring their ‘AI anxiety.'”

A generational divide

There is also a notable generational divide in attitudes toward AI, with Gen Z workers (aged 16-24) being the most optimistic about AI’s potential to enhance their job performance (37%) and create new roles (29%). In contrast, workers aged 55 and over are less likely to see the benefits of AI. However, as AI is poised to automate more administrative tasks, younger workers, who typically bear these responsibilities, express concerns that AI may displace their jobs. Over a fifth (21%) of 16-24-year-olds worry that AI will replace their jobs, compared to only 14 percent of those aged over 55.

With 72 percent of employees agreeing that good technology is crucial for a successful working life, it’s not just AI tools that workers are keen to adopt in the workplace. More than one in four UK workers (27%) express a desire for improved video conferencing tools, while an additional 26 percent aspire to use augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality devices at work. Strikingly, only a quarter (25%) of companies have updated their meeting technology in the past year, despite 82 percent of employees reporting that they have lost meeting time due to technical difficulties. This disparity underscores the urgent need for companies to bridge the technology gap with existing tools and embrace AI to further advance their workplaces.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.