Employees spend over 3 hours a day on easily automatable tasks: Study

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 21, 2020, 05.56 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

According to the study, 88 per cent Indians believe that humans should not be carrying out repetitive administrative tasks if they can be automated.

Office workers are ready to welcome automation of repetitive digital tasks, as on average employees spend more than three hours a day on mundane computer tasks which are not part of their primary job and are ripe for human error, a survey said on Tuesday.

According to a global study commissioned by Automation Anywhere, in India, out of 1,000 participants surveyed, 88 per cent believe humans should not be carrying out repetitive administrative tasks if they can be automated.

The research by the robotic process automation player noted that nearly half of workers surveyed found digital administration boring and a poor use of their skills, while the majority of respondents said it gets in the way of doing their main job and reduces their overall productivity.
With an 8-hour workday being the global norm, according to the survey, the average employee loses 60 hours per month to easily automate tasks.

By deploying a digital workforce and automating these repetitive tasks, employees could be given back a quarter of their annual work time (4.5 months) to focus on more meaningful work, boosting productivity and overall business value.

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At the very top of the "hated task" heap is general data entry? manually inputting data into a computer or other devices, followed closely by managing e-mail traffic and filing digital documents, such as documents, spreadsheets, images or PDFs - into the correct digital folder.

Compiling reports from IT and software systems and invoice management round out the top five most hated tasks, the survey noted.
"Close to 80 per cent of the participants in India believe that admin work is an obstacle for them to do their main job," said Milan Sheth, Executive Vice President India, Middle East & Africa, Automation Anywhere.

Sheth further said, "workers can focus on higher-value tasks if the mundane repetitive tasks can be automated".

As per the report, more than 95 per cent of participants in India are open to the idea of working alongside digital co-workers/software bots.
Besides, 55 per cent of respondents said they would consider leaving a job if this manual administrative load became too high, while 85 per cent would be attracted to work at a company that invested in automation to reduce repetitive digital administration tasks.

Automation Anywhere commissioned independent research group OnePoll to conduct 10,500 interviews with office workers in 11 countries around the world in 2019. Respondents represented a variety of demographic groups, job levels, industry sectors, and company sizes. 
Human activity reducing numbers of predatory animals: Study
London, Jan 21 (PTI) Predatory animals, especially small invertebrates like spiders and ladybird beetles, are most likely to be lost when natural habitats are converted to agricultural land, or towns and cities, according to a global study.

Small ectotherms - cold-blooded animals such as invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, large endotherms, including mammals and birds, and animals that eat fungi were also disproportionally affected, researchers said.

The reduction in numbers is in abundance of 25-50 per cent compared to natural habitats, according to the researchers from the University College London (UCL) in the UK.

The study, published in the journal Functional Ecology, analyzed over one million records of animal abundance at sites ranging from primary forest to intensively managed farmland, and cities.

The data represented over 25,000 species across 80 countries. Species were grouped by size, whether they were warm or cold-blooded and by what they eat. Species ranged from the oribatid mite weighing only 2x10-6 grammes to an African elephant weighing 3,825 kilogrammes. 

"Normally when we think of predators, we think of big animals like lions or tigers," said lead author of the research, Tim Newbold from UCL. "These large predators did not decline as much as we expected with habitat loss, which we think maybe because they have already declined because of human actions in the past (such as hunting)," Newbold said.

The researchers found that small predators - such as spiders and ladybirds - show the biggest declines. The results indicate that the world's ecosystems are being restructured with disproportionate losses at the highest trophic levels - top of the food chain.

Knowing how different animal groups are impacted by changing land-use could help us better understand how these ecosystems function, and the consequences of biodiversity change. 

"We know that different types of animals play important roles within the environment - for example, predators control populations of other animals," said Newbold. "If some types of animals decline a lot when we lose natural habitats, then they will no longer fulfil these important roles," he said.

The conversion of land to human use is associated with the removal of large amounts of natural plant biomass, usually, to give space for livestock and crops, the researchers noted. The limiting of the quantity and diversity of resources available at this level potentially explains the disproportionate reductions in predators seen in this study, they said.