After spending the first half of the morning reading and clearing emails, followed by working on a project for the entire afternoon before heading home, it might seem that your work day was relatively productive. After all, you managed to get some progress on that important project that your team has won right?
Well, that might not be the case as compared to the rest of the world!
A recent study conducted by enterprise software firm Unit4, has found that office workers in Singapore are the least productive among the 11 countries surveyed. The firm surveyed approximately 1,500 office workers in the service sector from these countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Sweden. While the study found that Singapore workers spend a significant amount of time (60%) on their main work duties, this is still lower as compared to the poll average of 72%. Essentially, an approximate 380 hours a year are spent on completing administrative or repetitive tasks. Converting this to work days, this figure is equivalent to 47.5 work days or two months of the entire working year.
Comparing across the different age group, respondents aged 41 and above estimate that they spend significantly more time on their primary duties as opposed to those aged 26 to 30.
Moreover, the survey results came out amidst studies that show labour productivity in Singapore is decreasing as a result of challenges from structural transformation and ageing demographics.
While this result might not have a significant impact on office workers, this loss of productivity can have a detrimental impact on the Singapore service industry. In fact, the study revealed that this drop in productivity is costing the Singapore service industry more than SGD36.5 billion a year! Given the fact that the Singapore economy has been placing more emphasis on the services sector over the past few decades, this will certainly hit the services sector hard.
The study also identified the amount of time in which Singapore office workers spend on specific daily administrative tasks that prevent them from focusing on their primary work. 30% of respondents cited manually collating and entering data as one of the main reasons and 26% citied tracking their project status as one of the administrative tasks that affected their primary work. Other reasons citied included handling invoices as well as submitting expenses and planning travels.
However, Unit4 mentioned that technological advancements such as digitalisation or software applications can help employees manage administrative repetitive tasks. This will then free up more time for office workers to spend their time on more value-added services. Moreover, more than a quarter of the workers in Singapore surveyed agree that deploying technology that aids administration is important for their company to remain competitive in the long run.
The future of work is no doubt one that is heavily supported by state-of-the-art technology, allowing employees to deliver more value to their customers as opposed to their direct competitors. This, in turn, will definitely boost the workforce productivity in Singapore, beyond just the services sector.
This a guest post by RenQun Huang of Gpayroll. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Zegal may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Zegal here.
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