According to a new survey, Australian workers consider admin a drain on productivity. No surprise there. The finding that many interviewees actually enjoy admin tasks and use them to balance their workload was less expected.
Photocopying, filing and sorting through written correspondence are still ubiquitous in most work environments despite the much-hyped but not quite realistic paperless office. But do these tasks help or hinder employees? The answer is a little bit of both.
Canon Australia surveyed 1,005 workers late last year and discovered that 63 percent thought admin was a drain on productivity. 58 percent were convinced that admin duties negatively impact their work performance, while 61 percent said they would use the extra time to focus on their core job if admin was halved.
These are pretty compelling statistics for introducing better processes and, in some cases, extra staff.
But the survey also produced some unexpected data supporting the humble admin break.
For starters, 65 percent of workers interviewed said they secretly enjoy office duties. 61 percent said they use admin to balance their workload, while a whopping 71 percent admitted to procrastinating by carrying out admin duties when they had a difficult task at hand.
While this behaviour would appear to have a negative impact on productivity, it highlights the fact that workers sometimes need a break to clear their head and refocus.
In some workplaces, this is as simple as logging into Facebook to see what your friends did on the weekend or having a chat with a colleague but, in many cases, these outlets are against office policy – so doing some photocopying is considered to be an acceptable alternative.
Perhaps the answer is reducing the admin load by improving technology and processes – and allowing employees the occasional break to regroup.
How do you approach admin in the office? Is it essential or a crutch to pass the time when you really should be doing something else?