As burnout rates among employees continue to rise, many workers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to manage their increasing workloads. Recent surveys reveal the pressures of modern work settings are pushing people to the brink, leading them to seek technological solutions to alleviate stress and maintain productivity.

AI is no longer perceived with fear — many workers felt it would replace their jobs. Today, they consider tools like generative AI a necessity for work.

Why AI is appealing to burnt-out workers

AI is proving helpful to staff, enabling them to work faster and smarter. According to a Microsoft report, research shows 75 percent of people worldwide are now using AI to fuel their workday. Whether scheduling meetings or managing emails, AI allows them to focus on more strategic activities.

Employee burnout is increasing due to several factors. One report found 32 percent of workers felt overworked due to longer hours. For others, the constant need to stay on top of tasks, respond to messages promptly, and attend numerous meetings contributes to their fatigue.

AI is stepping in to handle these mind-numbing tasks, giving teams the freedom to concentrate on more meaningful tasks. The same Microsoft report reveals employee satisfaction using AI. Ninety percent believe it helps them save time, while 85 percent say it allows them to focus on critical work.

Additionally, it enables them to feel more creative, with 83% reporting it makes their work more enjoyable. Ultimately, tools like ChatGPT are alleviating the burden of mundane jobs, setting the foundation for people to thrive and find greater fulfillment in their roles.

How to use AI safely and securely

Despite the benefits workers receive from generative AI, the technology does come with risks. The tools have a reputation for producing hallucinations and bias. As workers pass their work on to generative AI, there are also concerns with plagiarism and copyright infringement.

For many companies, these issues are a learning process, and they are still trying to figure out how to work with AI safely. Here are a few guidelines to implement before using these tools at work.

1. Use trusted AI tools

Employees should only use tools from enterprises with a proven track record of maintaining robust security standards. These are more likely to have undergone rigorous testing and comply with data protection regulations. As such, they minimize the risk of security breaches

However, some popular offerings have potential security risks that may lead to data breaches and privacy issues. It is imperative that team members stay informed about the sources of their AI tools. Regularly checking reviews, industry endorsements, and security certifications can help identify reliable solutions.

2. Avoid oversharing personal information

Workers must be cautious about the type of data they input into AI applications. This includes sensitive, personal, or confidential information. Overexposing sensitive details puts them and their employers at risk for data breaches.

Therefore, employees should adhere to the principle of data minimization. This guideline means only providing the minimum amount of information required for the AI tool to function effectively. Before sharing anything, consider whether the data is essential for the task. Doing so can greatly reduce the risk of compromising information.

3. Verify the outputs with reputable sources

Another key strategy is to verify the outputs received from generative AI. While this technology can generate impressive results, it does have imperfections. Staff should treat generated content as a starting point rather than the final word.

This means cross-checking with trusted and reliable sources, such as industry and news reports. Official publications and authoritative websites can also be useful methods to confirm the validity of AI’s findings. Being overly cautious evades passing on misleading information, ensuring professionals make decisions based on reliable data.

4. Avoid being overly reliant

Over-reliance on AI can harm teams’ skills. It can lead to a decrease in critical thinking and a lack of oversight in decision-making. While the algorithm increases workers’ productivity and efficiency, they must maintain a balanced approach.

To do this, they should view AI as a supportive tool rather than a crutch. It is important to stay engaged with the work, apply human judgment, and double-check outputs. Workers should also continue to develop their expertise, using AI to complement their abilities. By keeping automated assistance and human insight equal, professionals can ensure they remain skilled and adaptable in their roles.

5. Keep software updated

Any software can be at risk of bugs and vulnerabilities, and AI is no exception. That is why regular updates and patches are crucial — they maintain security and functionality. Keeping it updated protects employees and employers from security threats, avoids compatibility issues, and verifies the tools can interact smoothly with other software and systems in use.

Using AI responsibly

As AI becomes a larger part of the workplace, people must use these tools wisely. They may be excellent options for productivity, but they also have the potential to expose sensitive data that could cost one’s job and livelihood. Therefore, it is important to use AI responsibly to ensure it keeps offering the benefits of increased productivity.

Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers business tech, HR, and cybersecurity. He is also a regular contributor at AllBusiness, TalentCulture, and VentureBeat. For more of his work, follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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