Singaporeans' most hated office tasks revealed

7 in 10 would consider quitting if their administrative workload got too high

Singaporeans' most hated office tasks revealed

Singaporeans’ most hated tasks at work are those that they felt were not relevant to their main role, specifically, admin, found a recent study.

Those surveyed found digital administration boring (56%). Others said it gets in the way of them doing their main job (72%) and reduces their overall productivity (81%).

Regardless, almost all (98.6%) workers in Singapore spend time carrying out administrative tasks daily.

On average, they spend between three to five hours a day working on them, according to Automation Anywhere's study.

The top three most hated office tasks:

  • Filing digital documents into the correct digital folder — including documents, spreadsheets, images, or PDFs
  • Data entry — inputting data into a computer or other devices
  • Managing email traffic

These were also found to be the top three administrative tasks workers globally spend the most time on every day.

READ MORE: How can HR increase human touch in tech world?

Negative impact on employee experience
Apart from revealing the preferences of workers, such tasks also impacted employee happiness beyond the office.

Slightly more than half (65%) said that digital administrative tasks often prevent them from leaving the office, affecting their work-life balance.

The research also found that this is a bigger problem for male workers, as 54% of men struggle to leave work on time, compared to 43% of female workers. This is especially prevalent in Singapore and the UK.

Most Singaporeans (79%) believe that automation should eliminate manual, repetitive digital office tasks that are not core to their job.

Almost all (97%) respondents anticipate that they’d be happier with the change. With the freed-up time, they also agree that they will be able to be more productive (93%) and use more of their skills and talents at work (99%).

In fact, the overwhelming majority (95%) of Singaporeans would like their employers to automate more manual repetitive business processes.

Further, 72% said they would consider leaving a job if their manual administrative load became too high. About 74% would be attracted to work at a company that invested in automation to reduce repetitive administration tasks.

READ MORE: Is HR too stuck in their ‘comfort zone’?

How to rise above an admin role
Although many HR leaders have transformed or begun the journey to go beyond an operational, administrative role, some may still be struggling.

Phan Yoke Fei, senior director, HR & Corporate Administration at Gardens by the Bay, told HRD one trick is to make it part of a personal career strategy.

“You tend to hear this excuse all the time – that you’ve got so many administrative functions to take care of that you have no time to strategise,” Phan said.

“It’s a matter of perspective and not so much about whether you have enough time to plan. I’m sure given enough experience, you’ll have time to plan in all functions.”

He shared that this mind shift should be set from the start. If you want to achieve a strategic role in your career, you need to make it a clear priority.

“Bogging yourself down” with administrative functions from the start of your role with the organisation would mean going in the “wrong direction” career-wise.

“I guess you probably need to know what the hygiene factors are and find a timeframe to get into the other functions, instead of getting stuck in the hygiene levels all the time,” he said.

“This is a matter of personal strategy, to be able to mature in your career, so having the years of experience has helped me.”

He understands that the journey for most HR practitioners are similar. Most tend to start from a very administrative function and would need time to develop the skills necessary to play a more strategic role.

Register now for the popular HR tech Summit Singapore to access trends on the future of work. The summit will take place at Hilton Singapore on April 4. Click here for more details.

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