NEW YORK — Is your Monday through Friday office grind starting to feel like Groundhog Day? A new study reveals the average American office worker wastes five hours a week on tasks they think could be automated. That’s more than two business weeks per year, per person, of lost time.
The new poll surveyed 2,000 American office workers that are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers asked these remote employees about how their roles have changed over the past year and how they see their role evolving in the future.
Office workers more open to automation
As their roles currently stand, 69 percent feel like they’re constantly doing the same tasks over and over again at work; making their job feel like one endless loop. Two-thirds agree that their job is painfully monotonous.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of UiPath, the survey finds the majority of respondents (65%) agree that gaining skills tied to machine learning and artificial intelligence would be beneficial to their careers in the long run.
Just over a third (36%) shared their employers invested in automation software for the first time this year. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed report they specifically trained in automation over the past year. Of these respondents, a staggering 94 percent believe it has improved their job performance.
For those who haven’t trained in automation (just over 700 respondents), 45 percent of them believe learning about automation software would improve their job performance.
“Automation solves for two business challenges: employee engagement and efficiency,” says Tom Clancy, SVP of Learning, UiPath, in a statement. “Automation enables people to be more productive, while also freeing them up to focus on the work they feel truly adds value to their organization. They want to work on items requiring creativity, collaboration, and strategic thinking. We’ve found that job performance – and employee experience – improves dramatically when employees are able to leverage automation.”
Overall, 69 percent of respondents said their on-the-job skills have improved over the past year and 87 percent have learned new skills while working from home during the pandemic. Four in five respondents also feel more confident in their jobs now compared to the beginning of COVID. Another 65 percent said the top thing that made them feel more confident on the job was learning new skills.
Remote work made for stronger, more productive employees?
Although the pandemic negatively impacted countless workers in 2020, some actually took big strides forward in their careers. Big developments respondents reported over the past year include promotions (58%), gaining more responsibility (56%), and earning raises (56%). Just over a quarter of respondents also said they’ve become more proficient in their day-to-day routines at work.
Over four in 10 workers developed their leadership or management skills and 40 percent learned more about data analytics. Other skills people are picking up while at home include presentation, multimedia design, editing, and even coding skills.
“Enterprise demand for digital technologies means companies are seeking employees familiar with automation, AI, and other digital tools,” Clancy says. “Access to, and training on, these technologies is increasingly valuable for employees to be successful in the workplace and to advance their careers.”