However, in our pursuit of productivity and automation, we must not overlook the transformative potential that AI holds. For enhancing us as individuals and ultimately making us happier and healthier, resulting in even further productivity benefits for the workplace.

While the impact of AI on human job functions has been a major topic of discussion, it’s essential to broaden our perspective and explore the positive impact AI can have on our personal growth and wellbeing.

Rather than fearing AI as a threat, we should embrace it as a tool that can augment our abilities and amplify our human potential. By leveraging AI technologies, we can free up valuable time and mental energy that can be redirected towards more meaningful and fulfilling tasks.

I believe AI can play a significant role in addressing the mental wellbeing of employees. If AI-assisted tools were able to leverage cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and coaching methods used by therapists, AI-powered virtual assistants could help individuals in navigating stress, anxiety, and relationship issues, opening mental health support up to millions.

However, can AI-enabled tools deliver such support? Therapists are rarely on the list of occupations at risk due to AI, and for good reason. In-person support will always be needed. But perhaps AI could be a solution to bring mental health support and therapeutic techniques to the masses, allowing human therapists to focus on providing care to those most in need.

Such support is most certainly needed. In the UK, the NHS is straining under the demand for mental health support, with long wait times for therapy sessions. Those in need could wait months before getting the support they need right now.

AI’s benefit is the same technology, the same virtual assistant, can be rolled out to as many people as the servers can cater for. This means those in need, and even those who need it less urgently, but who will still benefit from therapeutic techniques, will be able to access support 24/7, in and out of the workplace, with no wait whatsoever.

An AI-enabled tool such as this would never be designed to replace the human therapist. Instead, it would allow for better triage to take place, freeing up their time, and handling less severe requirements whilst the professionals take on more urgent matters. In fact, in this manner, AI-enabled technology once again becomes the ultimate productivity assistant for therapists.

With this goal in mind, I wanted to find a solution and leverage AI for an assistant which is empathetic, secure, and able to provide a level of wellbeing support, at a chat-based level. To create an experience that complements in-person therapy and that can be used to triage to human therapists when required.

After months of hard work, we released Plumm's latest innovation, EMMA, an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant designed to transform workplace mental health and personal growth support.

Guided by internationally recognised ethical standards and compliant with data protection laws, EMMA leverages Azure Cognitive Services and generative AI, plus our own proprietary sentiment analysis algorithm, to provide immediate and empathetic support for a wide range of mental health concerns and personal development goals.

Going beyond the pre-programmed responses of its predecessors, EMMA engages users in natural and meaningful conversations and makes use of CBT and coaching techniques, often used by therapists, to provide mental health support.

With integrated access through Microsoft Teams and Slack, EMMA ensures support is available during work hours. We know that support is also needed round the clock, and so web and mobile apps are also available and can be accessed outside of work hours, meaning help is available whenever it's needed.

In leveraging AI for an assistant that is entirely dedicated to mental health, we can empower many more people to improve their mental wellbeing. For businesses, fostering a positive work culture - with a healthier cohort of workers - will lead to better job satisfaction for employees and business growth for the employer.

AI's potential to improve us as humans is a transformative force that should not be overlooked. By embracing AI-enabled tools as a catalyst for personal growth, mental wellbeing, and enhanced productivity, we can harness its power to create thriving workplaces. The combination of advanced technology, personalised support, and ethical considerations paves the way for a future where AI and human potential align to create happier, more productive work environments.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of AI, it is crucial to continuously explore new ways to integrate AI-enabled tools effectively and responsibly, ultimately creating workplaces that empower individuals to reach their full potential.

Asim Amin is the Founder and CEO of Plumm.