Outdated processes and ‘pointless’ admin tasks are eating up more than a third of office workers’ daily time, a new global study has revealed.
The research, commissioned by Webexpenses, found that 26% of an office-based employee’s day is typically wasted on administrative chores and inefficient ways of working.
That equates to around 76 working days being lost during an average 48-week year, assuming employees take four weeks of annual leave.
The global study, involving a survey of more than 5,000 office-based employees, identified outdated tech and unnecessary meetings as being the main time wasters. The findings reveal an average working day which includes:
- 42 minutes spent on needless admin tasks
- 36 minutes having unproductive conversations
- 28 minutes attending unnecessary meetings
- 26 minutes struggling with outdated business technology
- 24 minutes managing employee expenses
Inefficient and outdated ways of working were found to be a major cause of frustration for employees. More than half (51%) said dated business processes are preventing them from doing their jobs properly.
Business process improvements
Adam Reynolds, CEO of Webexpenses, said: “Activities such as claiming expenses, processing invoices and auditing shouldn’t take much time at all, and yet for many businesses stuck in the dark ages, they are.
“As this study found, workers feel the brunt of a business which isn’t set up efficiently, as they spend hours and hours on tasks which could be done in half the time.”
Nearly half of the respondents (48%) believed that better workplace technology would improve their productivity. The same percentage also called on employers to invest more in time-saving technologies.
Employee frustrations with outdated tech were found to be strongest amongst US employees, with more than two thirds (69%) complaining about the time taken up by administrative chores. US employees were also found to be spending the most time on their expense reports - taking an average of 40 minutes to manually create a claim.
Regional comparison of average time spent claiming back an expense:
- UK: 26 mins
- Canada: 20 mins
- Australia: 19 mins
- New Zealand: 17 mins
More than a third of respondents said their company still relied on manual administration processes and 40% described the technology they used as being ‘woefully outdated’. The emergence of cloud-based tools and real-time data management has virtually eliminated the need for manual or paper-based office administration.
Adam Reynolds added: “Businesses have an obligation to provide the best possible tools to ensure their employees are able to deliver their job. When employees aren’t working to their full capacity due to outdated business processes, that’s when things need to be addressed.”
“Sophisticated software can often streamline company processes and alleviate workloads for time-strapped staff. Businesses can take measures to have a positive impact and make employees more efficient.”