We Spend Five Hours a Week Doing Things That Could Be Automated

(SWNS)–Do you ever feel caught in a loop at work? New research shows you’re not alone; the average American office worker wastes five hours a week on tasks they think could be automated. That’s more than two business weeks per year, per person, of lost productivity.

A new study polled 2,000 American office workers that are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic about how their roles have changed over the past year and how they see their role evolving in the future.

Seven in 10 respondents said they wish they had more time to work on more high-value tasks and responsibilities into their day-to-day routine.

And as their roles currently stand, 69% feel like they’re constantly doing the same tasks over and over again at work and 68% wish their job wasn’t so monotonous.

One way respondents are trying to boost their productivity at work is learning about artificial intelligence (35%) and learning skills related to robotic process automation (33%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of UiPath, the survey found the majority of respondents (65%) agreed that skills related to machine learning and AI would be beneficial to their careers in the long run.

Just over a third (36%) of respondents shared their employers invested in automation software for the first time this year.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed shared they specifically trained in automation over the past year, and of these respondents, 94% agreed this has improved their job performance.

For those who haven’t trained in automation (just over 700 respondents), 45% of them agreed learning automation software would improve their job performance.

“Automation solves for two business challenges: employee engagement and efficiency,” said Tom Clancy, SVP of Learning, UiPath. “Automation enables people to be more productive, while also freeing them up to focus on the work they feel truly adds value to their organization. They want to work on items requiring creativity, collaboration, and strategic thinking. We’ve found that job performance – and employee experience – improves dramatically when employees are able to leverage automation.”

Outside of automation specifically, 65% of respondents overall agreed that they’d be more willing to continue working at a company that offered opportunities to learn new skills and 72% think they’d be more productive at their job if they learned new skills.

Overall, 69% of respondents said their on-the-job skills have improved over the past year and 87% have learned new skills while working from home during the pandemic.

Four in five respondents also feel more confident in their jobs now compared to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and 65% said the top thing that made them feel more confident on the job was learning new skills.

Other big developments that occurred over the past year included promotions (58%), gaining more responsibility (56%) and earning raises (56%).

Just over a quarter of respondents also said they’ve become more proficient in their day-to-day routines at work.

Forty-two percent of respondents developed leadership or management training, and 40% have learned data analytics. Other skills including presentation and multimedia design and editing skills, and a third of respondents even learned how to code.

“Enterprise demand for digital technologies means companies are seeking employees familiar with automation, AI, and other digital tools,” said Clancy. “Access to, and training on, these technologies is increasingly valuable for employees to be successful in the workplace and to advance their careers.”


  1. I learned new skills – 65%
  2. I got a promotion – 58%
  3. I gained more responsibility – 56%
  4. I got a raise – 56%
  5. I’m more proficient in my day-to-day responsibilities and skills – 27%


  1. Emails (e.g. drafting, responding, sending reminders and follow-ups) – 70%
  2. Scheduling calls and meetings – 61%
  3. Inputting data/creating datasets – 60%
  4. Speaking to managers/team members – 43%
  5. Helping customers – 21%