52 percent of knowledge workers say they would rather sit in traffic for two extra hours every day than work without automation tools, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by task automation firm Zapier.
The survey, which focused on knowledge workers from small and medium-sized businesses in the US, found that these employees rely on automated tools to free them up for more creative or strategic tasks, with 67 percent responding that they are more productive and 65 percent responding that they are less stressed if they are able to automate manual and repetitive tasks.
According to the findings, the most time-consuming tasks that knowledge workers face are data entry (38 percent), document creation and management (34 percent), invoice management (33 percent) and copying data from one source to another (31 percent). However, only data entry and document creation and management are among the most commonly automated tasks. Businesses seem to prefer automating lead management and managing inventory and distribution, suggesting that some gaps exist between small businesses' automation strategies and the needs of the workers using that automation.
At the same time, only 34 percent of survey respondents said that automation actually allows them to spend less time on manual administrative tasks, and 94 percent said they still perform repetitive and time-consuming manual tasks. This is despite the survey also finding that 63 percent of small businesses have already used automation to pivot during the pandemic and 66 percent find automation essential for running the business. The survey did not explore whether this is because the automation strategy is ineffective or because the respondents' organisations had not automated those particular tasks.