English at work

Communication and AI

June 28, 2024, 11:00 AM | Author: Kateryna Chystiakova / Editor: Diana Künstler

German employees now spend 33 percent of their weekly working time on written communication. These are the results of a grammar study. However, this also brings challenges, especially if the exchange takes place in English. AI can support.

The report about Grammatical study1conducted by Statista, shows that 75 percent of respondents have already had negative experiences with inefficient written communication and highlights how artificial intelligence can be used to overcome these hurdles in today’s business world – especially when the foreign language is English. .

Business Communication in Germany -channels.png

Today’s business world is characterized by new technologies, an accelerated pace of work and rapidly increasing communication flows. Whether by email, in meetings or via messenger: effective communication is the key to success. A study by the AI ​​company Grammarly, conducted in collaboration with Statista, reveals an astonishing aspect of professional communication: German employees spend 33.5 percent of their weekly working time – that is 13.4 hours per week or the equivalent of 77 working hours per year – writing written messages. For more than half of the respondents (59 percent), the volume of written communication has increased noticeably over the past year.

This intensive writing work doesn’t come without consequences: 75 percent of respondents report negative experiences as a result of ineffective written communication. The consequences include increased stress levels, decreased productivity, and uncertainty about the tasks ahead. A quarter of all survey participants said this resulted in missed deadlines and longer project timelines.

The challenges are increasing, especially when communicating in a foreign language. The study sheds light on how English skills differ between generations, what typical difficulties arise when writing in English, and how German employees overcome them. More and more people are turning to artificial intelligence to overcome language barriers.

English as a bridge across language and national borders

English plays a crucial role in professional life today. According to the Grammarly study, 65 percent of German professionals use English to communicate with international clients. Another 35 percent use the language when communicating with colleagues from other countries, and for 30 percent it is indispensable for collaboration in multicultural teams in Germany. The trend on hybrid remote working models highlights the growing importance of English as a business language in the modern, globalized world of work. A third of respondents in fully remote companies use English as their primary language of communication. English is used strategically, especially in technology-focused sectors such as IT and software development.

Business English Skills: Gen Z and Millennials at the Top

English language level in German companies

English as a ‘business language’ is essential in the modern working world. The research shows that younger workers are particularly ahead of the curve: 55 percent of Gen Z and Millennials speak English fluently or proficiently, compared to just 42 percent of Gen Xers. In everyday business, these language skills are directly proportional to the time spent on written tasks: 63 percent of workers with low to average English skills take longer to write messages, compared to just 41 percent of advanced speakers.

It is striking that despite better language skills, one in four young adults from Generation Z reports a lack of confidence in their own language skills.

The Hidden Costs of Language Barriers

While writing in English can overcome international barriers in the work environment, it often poses challenges for German employees: 75 percent of respondents report daily difficulties and increased time commitment. However, the extra time spent writing in a foreign language is only part of the problem. 49 percent of employees struggle to express their thoughts clearly and precisely in English. Uncertainty about grammar bothers 39 percent of respondents. These linguistic challenges are particularly evident when it comes to striking the right tone – a dilemma for one in four employees.

AI support for English writing in daily work

According to the survey, a whopping 75 percent of German professionals have actively worked on improving their English skills in the past 12 months, using both traditional language courses and advanced digital tools. A notable third of employees have decided to use AI-supported writing assistants to optimize their written communication. Managers report using these tools to reduce the time spent on writing tasks (48 percent) and increase productivity (46 percent). Employees increasingly rely on AI technology to avoid grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors (58 percent), which significantly improves the quality of their messages. The survey results show that AI writing assistants help 55 percent of respondents reduce writing time. In addition, 47 percent of respondents use these tools to rephrase their messages and increase comprehension.

Reasons to use AI tools

Hybrid and fully remote professionals in particular are more likely to use AI tools to improve communication than their office-only colleagues. AI tools in everyday work are especially popular among younger employees: Digitally savvy and tech-loving Gen Z leads the way with 45 percent using these innovative tools. In comparison, 35 percent of millennials and 26 percent of Gen X use such tools, highlighting the growing generational gap in technology adoption. These figures underscore the importance of a comprehensive strategy for implementing AI in the company, as well as targeted internal training to foster AI affinity among employees.

Kateryna Chystiakova is Senior Communications Manager at Grammarly for Europe and project leader of the study ‘2024 State of Business Communication in Germany’.

1 https://www.grammarly.com/de-de/2024-state-of-business-communication-germany-report

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