A typical desk. Picture by user: Mattes / Public Domain

Many business gurus recommend technology applications that minimize human input. If this is the correct recommendation, then uptake in some sectors is still low and there are international differences.

A new finding suggests that Canadians are lagging behind the US on business automation. This comes from Zapier, who conducted a survey of business leaders and found that Canadian knowledge workers spend only 18 percent of their time on core tasks and a lot of time entering data.

The survey polled 1,000 Canadians in business and compared the responses to US workers from a previous survey.

The analysis showed that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in more employees being introduced to tools for automation workflows. Of the workers who use automation tools, the majority of Canadians (78 percent) started using them in the past two years.

Even so, Canadians are still lagging behind the US when it comes to using automation. Perhaps one of the reasons the survey emerged was that some Canadian workers feel they don’t need automation that much.

This is borne out by Canadians reporting 38 percent less manual labor, 36 percent fewer distractions from messaging apps, 23 percent fewer unnecessary meetings, and 20 percent less burnout than US workers.

While Canadians reported less burnout, it appears that workday efficiency may play a role. Here, 18 percent of Canadians spend less than an hour a day doing their core tasks.

In addition, 71 percent of Canadians surveyed spend up to three hours a day entering data and 86 percent of Canadians spend up to five hours a day reviewing messenger apps.

In related news, a survey of 500 small and medium-sized business owners conducted by Ontraport found that 13 percent of respondents spend a whopping 20 or more hours per week on tedious and repetitive tasks. These tasks include responding to customers, setting appointments, reviewing leads, and processing payments and refunds.

This provides a signal as to why automation is crucial in at least some areas. Automation is about developing and applying technology to produce and deliver goods and services with minimal human intervention.

The survey also found that 62 percent of respondents said they would put the time saved by automation back into their business. The question is how does it work? A consideration is a concept of a single platform rather than juggling between systems, although it depends on the suitability of a single system functionality.

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