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1/3 of employees’ time is wasted on ‘pointless’ business processes

Outdated processes and ‘pointless’ admin tasks are eating up more than a third of office workers’ daily time, a new global study commissioned by Webexpenses has revealed.

The study showed that 26% of an office worker's time is usually spent on tasks that are unproductive and inefficient.

That equates to around 76 working days being lost during an average 48-week year, assuming employees take four weeks of annual leave.

What tasks are the biggest time wasters for office workers?

The global study, involving a survey of more than 5,000 office workers, identified outdated tech and unnecessary meetings as being the main time wasters. The findings reveal an average working day that 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  • 26 minutes struggling with outdated business technology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Inefficient and outdated ways of working were found to be a major cause of frustration for employees.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Employee frustrations with outdated tech were found to be strongest amongst US employees. More than two thirds (69%) of workers in the US complained about the time taken up by administrative chores. US employees take the longest to complete their expense reports, averaging 40 minutes.

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company still relied on manual administration processes and 40% described the technology they used as being ‘woefully outdated’. Cloud-based tools such as online document management systems, online invoicing platforms and other cloud-based services have enabled businesses to eliminate the need for manual, paper-based office administration. 

Real-time data management further streamlines the process by allowing businesses to access and update data in real time, reducing the need for tedious manual data entry. This has enabled businesses to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

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.”

For more information on the study, contact or get in touch to learn more about Webexpenses.