New research finds UK employees waste more than a day a week on low value tasks that should be automated

New research from Adobe has revealed that more than one-in-three UK employees (39%) are working longer hours than they did pre-pandemic and the majority feel under constant time pressure with 57% feeling “constantly stretched” for time.

For leaders of UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the findings are even more stark with 46% working longer hours now than they did pre-pandemic, and 60% feeling “constantly stretched”.  Across both groups, the extra time spent at work equates to an extra day every week.

Contributing to the pressure of an “always on” culture, where remote work is spilling over into personal time, two thirds of business owners (67%) feel pressure to be reachable at all times of the day, even early morning.

The findings from the Future of Time Study, which surveyed 500 enterprise employees and 300 SMB leaders in the UK, also found that 66% of employees blame their company for having to work longer hours, and also cite the amount of low value administrative tasks that they think could and should be automated as a key factor.

In fact, these low value tasks, such as awaiting signatures, making payments and invoicing and file management accounted for almost a third (32%) of the working week for employees, rising to 38% for SMB leaders.  Such tasks leave less time for the important, higher value parts of their job with a staggering majority of employees (88%) and SMB leaders (84%) admitting that these tasks “get in the way of doing their job effectively”.

Employees are also prepared to take action. Three in five (59%) would quit their current job if they found a role at a company that had better technology in place to free up their time. This is especially true for younger generations with 88% of Gen Z employees and 71% of Millennials prepared to move jobs for this reason.

Of the one third of employees (34%) that plan to switch jobs in the next 12 months, 74% would do so for a better work-life balance, 67% would do so for greater control over their schedules and 57% would do so for more flexibility of work hours.

Mark Greenaway, Director, Digital Media Enterprise, Adobe, said: “It is clear that the line between work and personal life hasn’t just blurred – for many it’s starting to disappear entirely. Both employees and leaders clearly feel that too much time is being spent on tasks that could and should be automated. With many looking to switch jobs in the next 12 months, those companies that promote work life balance and flexible working, and that have the technologies in place to free their employees from time-consuming admin will prove to be the most attractive destinations.”