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Repetitive Tasks at Work Research and Statistics (2024 Update)

Lari Numminen

June 15, 2023

When it comes to today's digital workplace, there's no escaping the feeling that we're often burdened with repetitive, manual work. How much time is wasted on repetitive tasks? You might be surprised to learn that the answer could be staggering.

At Workfellow we work with knowledge-intensive global enterprise businesses such as accounting firms, insurance companies and banks. We've recently conducted research on repetitive tasks at work and uncovered these key highlights.

How much time is spent in repetitive tasks in the workplace?

Today the typical office worker spends 10% of their time on manual data entry into business applications, such as the ERP system, CRM or spreadsheets. In total, they spend over 50% of work time creating or updating documents, eg. PDFs, spreadsheets or word documents.

How many copy-pastes do you do at work?

The average employee working in an enterprise business does over 1000 copy pastes each week, or over 52,000 copy paste activities each year. Across a typical business operations team of 20 that accounts for over 21,000 copy-pastes each week and over a million copy-paste activities in a year.

How much time is spent in different business applications?

  • A typical office worker spends 3 hours working on spreadsheets each week, for example in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
  • A typical office worker spends almost 2 1/2 hours in business communications or email applications, such as Outlook.
  • A typical office worker spends over 1 1/2 hours each week searching and organizing files, for example in the shared file service such as Sharepoint or Google Drive.
  • A typical office worker spends 1 1/2 hours each week copy-pasting or manually entering data into business applications, such as the ERP or CRM.
Methodology: Our research conducted over 30 day period of time in 2022 and refreshed in 2023 with over 4 million data points from opt-in enterprise business clients with an average of 20 employees. The research was conducted in the European Union leveraging Work API technology ensuring that no personally identifiable information (PII) was collected from the study group.

How does Workfellow help you measure, analyze and remove wasted work?

We all have different types of activities at work. Some are effective and productive, while others are repetitive and manual. None of us are productive 100% of the time, and most teams will have a balance between different types of activities.

Workfellow is advanced process intelligence software that is used by enterprise businesses to analyze and improve workflows, streamline processes and automate tasks. On a high level, Workfellow's Work API technology can help you analyze and identify different types of work happening within your team, such as:

  • Quick processing - repetitive, routine and fast work, e.g., approving invoices.
  • Focused work - deep work within a business app, e.g., creating a monthly report in Excel or Power BI.
  • Multi-step workflows- Workflows that cause you to jump off business applications to fetch or copy data or information before proceeding with your desired process. For example, switching between your CRM and finance solutions to create and review purchase orders and invoices.

Typically enterprise business customers uncover ~20% savings within 30 days of plug-and-play installation of Workfellow. Read case-study how one medium-sized accounting firm uncovered over € 2 million ($2.17 million) in process waste.

Related research and articles

25+ Wasting Time at Work Statistics by Zippia

The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Statistics by On the Clock

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Written by

Lari Numminen

Chief Marketing Fellow