How artificial intelligence is changing our workplace

Woman and AI robot working together in the office, automation and technology concept
© Getty Images/demaerre

Companies sense major savings potential, employees fear for their jobs. The use of AI is already customary in many companies. It involves both opportunities and challenges. What needs to be taken into account.

A company’s use of represents a huge opportunity, since it is a driver of innovation and can be used to open up new markets. Management consultancy McKinsey reckons that AI can generate additional value amounting to around 10 to 20 billion euros a year, which equates to some three to five times the size of Germany’s gross domestic product. Yet how exactly can companies, and also employees, benefit and in what areas should they pay particular attention?

The opportunities

Efficiency improvement: AI can be deployed to improve processes in many work areas. This extends from smart evaluation of large amounts of data to automated processing of customer enquiries and quality control. Many administrative departments now use AI to select the correct form for the corresponding process.

Data analysis: AI can rapidly and accurately analyse large amounts of data to identify relevant patterns and glean insights from them. It is for instance used in mechanical engineering to enable preventative maintenance. It detects if a passenger lift is at risk of malfunction. AI even detects the smallest deviations in operating times. It is also used in e-commerce to adapt product ranges.

Customer service: Virtual assistants and chatbots improve customer connectivity, since they provide quick and precise answers. This is beneficial when it comes to product information or orders, for example. Its use saves the company personnel costs, and saves customers time.

Onboarding of international specialists: Here AI can assist with more rapid integration. Translation tools help to overcome language barriers and ease team communication. Chatbots can also answer questions relating to corporate guidelines, work processes and cultural characteristics. They can even be used for e-learning. AI can accordingly produce training models that match the international specialists’ individual abilities. AI can moreover process the onboarding formalities, including the likes of visa documentation and contracts.

How AI Could Empower Any Business

How AI Could Empower Any Business
How AI Could Empower Any Business ©

The challenges

Job losses: The concern that AI could become a job killer is probably unfounded. ‘Numerous studies indicate that AI is more likely to create additional jobs – and alter existing ones rather than eliminate them. New job profiles will at the same time emerge’, says Larissa Mikolaschek, AI specialist and Head of Tech at start-up Sest-Digital. So as such, there will not only be a need for software engineers, in other words experts who train AI systems and adapt them to corporate or sectoral requirements. Activities like prompt engineering – formulation of the right input prompts for AI to obtain the best possible results – are increasingly in demand. A job title that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Data analysts are just as important. ‘The growing significance of data requires specialists who collate and analyse the data and then develop models that can be used to feed the AI systems’, Mikolaschek continues. 

Ethical issues: The use of AI data could result in misinformation, plagiarism and copyright infringements. There are therefore soon to be Europe-wide regulations regarding the use of AI. ‘The planned law is intended to ensure that AI systems are transparent, comprehensible and non-discriminatory. Even energy efficiency and environmental compatibility are an important aspect in correlation with large language models’, explains the start-up’s co-founder. It is envisaged that AI systems will in future be assigned to different risk groups. ‘The higher an application’s potential risks, the higher should be the requirements’, says Mikolaschek. AI that is used to manipulate or monitor human behaviour, such as face recognition, should therefore be banned in Europe. 

Changes in work culture: Employees need to engage with the transformation. Many of them simultaneously fear the massive potential for change. Managers should not underestimate this fear. The study ‘Work, workforce, workers’ undertaken by management consultancy Accenture revealed that sixty per cent of those interviewed seek clarity from their employers regarding what the technology means for their professional future. ‘Mistrust of this new technology will only be dispelled by those who include employees in the upcoming changes from the very start. Trust is ultimately the key to acceptance of artificial intelligence. This could for instance be gained by means of continuing professional development opportunities and regular workshops’, says Mikolaschek.


Virtually nobody can currently forecast where the use of generative AI in the workplace will lead. ‘What will continue to matter most in the workplace of the future is to develop an ideal overall package for each job. A package that consists of humans and machines’, sums up Larissa Mikolaschek.


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