Menial Tasks Drain The Joy Out Of Work

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Some recent research paints a pretty dim picture of our workplaces. About a third of us don't find our jobs meaningful and over 80% of people who said that their job is ‘not at all meaningful’ say they are not satisfied with their current job, the study found satisfied with their current roles. And the range of things we'd rather do at work is pretty scary with almost half us preferring to sit in traffic than ask for IT support.

The research byYouGov Galaxy, that was commissioned by ServiceNow, looked at white collar workers in Australia working at medium to large corporate companies. The survey of over 1000 workers was conducted late last year and focussed on finding out whether workers spent more time than they'd like on menial tasks and what they'd rather be doing.

Some of the more colourful results were that:

  • 45% would rather sit in peak hour traffic then call IT or file a ticket request when having an IT issue
  • 31% would rather go on an awkward date than attend an onboarding session for a new job
  • 69% would rather go a whole day without coffee than deal with a complex HR process
  • 36% would rather take a call from a telemarketer than file their expenses

Those are some pretty interesting numbers and reflect that many workplaces don't do enough to keep their staff engaged and to remove the friction from internal processes.

Every job involves tasks that you'd rather not do. But those jobs can be made less annoying through automation or by doing them at a time when your brain is better suited to lower-order thinking.

The flip-side to this is that workplaces that drag people down through too many menial tasks run the risk of either not retaining good people or struggling to recruit them in the first place. Although the survey revealed that 66% of Aussie workers find their job meaningful, that means a third of us don't. More than half of the workers surveyed would give a pay rise for more meaningful work with workers estimating they spend 61 hours a month undertaking menial tasks.

The answer is to streamline and automate as many of those tasks as possible. Everything from capturing and automatically filing receipts in expense accounts through to common IT support issues and filling in HR forms is a good candidate for a review so workers can spend less time doing those menial jobs.

Perhaps then, we can move to a four-day work week.


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