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After all, AI can push professionals to work longer hours – HR

After all, AI can push professionals to work longer hours – HR

Opinions are divided about artificial intelligence (AI). Many experts believe it could contribute to the adoption of a four-day work week, but others claim that AI could actually increase demand for workers as companies begin working 24 hours a day, Business Insider reports.

Benny Gil, founder and CEO of Kognitos, a company that uses generative artificial intelligence (AI Gen) to automate business processes, works almost every day and also on weekends. As AI takes hold in the workplace, he believes more entrepreneurs will feel pressure to do the same.

Much of the talk about how AI will rewrite the work of each role revolves around the idea that robots will take over the most tedious tasks, and this will free up the worker to do more creative and focused work, easing the transition to a four-day work week.

However, Benny Gil sees another possibility: AI could drive an “always on” culture and put pressure on at least some professionals to work more, not less. “Companies will only use AI to stay in business — they will have AI make decisions that need humans — and they will turn themselves into machines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he explains to Business Insider. “Humans will do less manual work, yes, but on the other hand, they will always have to be ‘on call’, because companies will not stop, due to competition.”

If workers need to supervise AI robots around the clock, not everyone will be able to work four days a week, Benny Gill says, and they will become increasingly busy and tired.

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double-edged sword

Not everyone believes that artificial intelligence will end the dream of a four-day work week. Emily Rose McRae, senior analyst at Gartner, expects the idea to shift from “radical to routine,” especially since it will be difficult for companies to justify the additional expenses of working 24 hours a day. He adds that, in recent years, many companies have reduced the level of service they previously provided because employees are overworked and demanding better conditions.

Moreover, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week means more workers, and “we basically don't have enough people in the workforce,” McRae asserts.

Simon Johnson, professor of economics and management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former economist at the International Monetary Fund, confirms that many professionals already feel pressure to work overtime. “I don't see how AI will help with that.”

However, he is hopeful that the four-day work week will pay off. When it comes to AI, keep in mind that the big question is what new tasks the technology can create in the next five to 10 years that we can't predict yet. The answer can help shape these weeks.

“There may be more pressure to work,” he says, but it may also free people to focus on more creative activities at work or on their own time. For now, the productivity gains for existing tasks that AI can perform are not significant, Johnson guarantees.

He warns that if technology does not generate more things for professionals to do, it may leave people out of work, creating greater competition for the jobs that remain.

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For Alexei Korotych, vice president of Wrike, a work management platform, since AI will give workers real-time access to information whenever they want, it may be difficult for some professionals to “turn off work.”

It is embodied with email. “Email has made companies more efficient, but it has created another problem. Sending emails has become so fast, easy and cheap, that humanity now has a hard time answering them all.

Management role

Even if AI allows many to work less, it will be important for leaders to do so as well, says Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit organization.

Otherwise, professionals who aspire to move up the career ladder will feel pressure to reverse this behavior and work harder. Whelehan says it will ultimately be up to management to decide whether AI will lead to job losses or enable a four-day work week.

“In the early 2000s, technology was the great hope. It would have led to massive job losses, and it would have been quite the opposite. “It has created jobs and innovation, but it has not contributed much to achieving a greater balance between personal and professional lives.”