Beware Employee Burnout from AI Dominance

Read time: 3 minutes

Hi AI Pro!

Nobody here is saying AI is evil, but like every other technology it’s a double-edge sword and the blade can cut in some seriously counterproductive ways when its potential effects on employee well-being are ignored…


A newly released study published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) on the negative effects of AI use by 166 employees at a Taiwanese biomedical company reports that the technology has resulted in a growing sense of isolation among coworkers, as well as increases in insomnia and alcohol consumption.

These observations were also supported by two separate studies of several hundred employees run by the same HBR report authors, one a professor at Northeastern University and the other at Texas A&M University, which were conducted at an Indonesian property management company and a Malaysian technology company.


Businesses that are mindful of the physical and mental well-being of their employees and that make sustained efforts to promote social connections benefit in the long term, according to the HBR report.

Other studies consistently show that employees who feel socially connected and emotionally fulfilled at work are more engaged, productive, and committed to their jobs. “They’re more likely to collaborate, innovate, and go above and beyond in their roles,” the authors write.

However, they add, in a single-minded effort to stay competitive and reap efficiency gains by deploying AI systems, “many organizations have lost sight of their most important asset — the humans whose jobs are being fragmented into tasks that are increasingly becoming automated.”


To overcome the challenges and leverage opportunities to use AI in the workplace, forward-thinking business leaders should balance the need for efficiency with a genuine commitment to their employees’ well-being and social connection.

Here are three key recommendations by the HBR report’s authors on how to successfully attain these goals:

  1. Monitor Well-Being

In the drive to enhance productivity, over-reliance on AI may erode it over time instead. Lonely, disengaged employees are less likely to collaborate, innovate, or go the extra mile for their organizations.

Managers should monitor employee well-being and “social embeddedness” in the organization, not just performance. Regular surveys, check-ins, and feedback sessions can help surface issues before they fester.

These kinds of measures will help your organization avoid employee burnout, in which mental and physical health suffer from a dominating presence of AI in the workplace.

  1. Redesign Workflows

Adopt a human-centric approach to AI implementation, rather than simply layering AI on top of existing processes. Organizations should redesign workflows around the respective strengths of humans and machines.

Create opportunities for employees to collaborate with AI in ways that enhance their autonomy, their sense of control and mastery, and their feeling that their job provides a sense of purpose.

  1. Treat AI as a Tool

Instead of viewing AI merely as a means to automate and optimize, treat it as a tool for enhancing the job experience.

Leaders should create dedicated spaces and schedule times for employees to connect face-to-face at team-building activities and social events. The aim should be to foster a culture where social interaction is valued and encouraged, not viewed simply as counter-productive distractions.

Accounting for the social costs when considering the efficiency gains of AI means not using the technology to just replace human employees. It should be viewed as a tool for augmenting human potential and skills.

Join 50,000+ Organizations Using Metabase Today

Over 50,000 organizations, from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 companies, choose Metabase for intuitive BI tools.

Visualize your data with ease—no SQL needed. Connect to your database or data warehouse in minutes and start building dashboards. Choose self-hosted or cloud-hosted (SOC 2 Type II compliant). Need embedded BI?

We’ve got you covered. Try Metabase free and explore our affordable plans for powerful data visualization.

Launch a newsletter ad campaign in 10-minutes to get in front of engaged, targeted customers

The platform has access to 20,000+ vetted newsletters with highly engaged niche audiences.

Simply sign up, add your campaign creatives, define your target audience and budget, and our AI will automatically place you in front of the best-fit newsletter audiences.

Retainer-free, risk-free, and no fees upfront. You only pay for verified clicks as they come in.

If interested, book a call here.


How would you rate today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.