Canadian Office Workers Spend Nearly Two Workdays Per Week on Menial Tasks & View AI Tools as Key Driver to Help Alleviate Workloads: ServiceNow

ServiceNow today announced the results of its fourth annual World of Work study. The study reveals Canadian office workers are spending nearly two workdays per week on menial tasks and see AI tools as a key driver to help alleviate workloads. Despite only 20% of workers currently using AI, half believe that training will give them a competitive advantage at work.

Canadian office workers recognize the potential for AI to drive productivity, reduce menial work, and future-proof their skills. Furthermore, 66% cite inadequate technology, training, and innovation as notable reasons to leave their current role. Companies that want to attract and retain talent need to identify and put into practice innovative solutions that boost employee productivity and growth opportunities.

Turning to AI as menial tasks surge

The majority of Canadian office workers (2 in 3) need to do meaningful work. Today, companies are presented with a unique opportunity to consider the role of AI-powered tools and technologies in alleviating the impact of menial, repetitive work on employees. This ultimately helps reduce employee burnout and attrition. The study highlights several key findings:

  • Employees are bogged down with menial tasks: Canadian office workers are spending more than one-third of each day on repetitive work, equating to nearly 14 hours, or two workdays, each week. And it’s on the rise. Despite rapid advancements in technology, the proportion of time spent on menial tasks increased by 6% in 2023.
  • Employers need to better enable productivity and efficiency: The majority (63%) of office workers feel their employer does not currently have adequate solutions in place to help alleviate repetitive work. As a result, 58% of Canadian office workers are looking to their employers to invest in solutions that enable productivity.
  • The potential for AI to transform work is clear: Office workers recognize the potential of AI to enhance productivity (45%), minimize errors (42%), and provide more time for strategic and creative tasks (30%). This contributes to better work-life balance among employees (29%) and reduced stress (28%).
  • The range of AI use cases is growing: Employees see AI tools that automate work as the most helpful, particularly automating routine and repetitive processes (41%), IT services (38%), analytics and reporting (37%), and summarization of meetings, documents, and emails (37%).

Embracing AI for career growth and job security

Recognizing the critical role of AI in their professional growth and development, Canadian office workers are increasingly looking to embrace AI to enhance their skillsets and remain competitive in the job market. According to the report:

  • Employees will future-proof their skillsets with AI: Canadian office workers recognize developing AI skills is important for career progression. More than half (57%) anticipate getting additional education or training in AI at work, while 49% plan to pursue AI education or training on their own. Notably, only 33% fear they won’t be able to keep up with the technology.
  • Current training programs aren’t cutting it: Having a comprehensive understanding of how to use AI is a priority for Canadian office workers but only 37% of employees perceive AI as easy to use. Further, current training programs are seen as insufficient. Only half (51%) consider the current training programs available to them as conducive to their career development.
  • Leaders and individual contributors need equal access to AI training: While most Canadian office workers assert that their employer is responsible for providing job-relevant training (62%), there exists a disparity in training access between leaders and individual contributors. Specifically, 59% of leaders report greater training opportunities compared to individual contributors (48%). And while 61% of leaders believe their workplace invests in their career growth, only 41% of individual contributors feel the same.

For more information about the World of Work survey findings, please visit here.

Survey Methodology

The 12-minute online survey was facilitated by SAGO (Asking Canadians). The study was in field between August 15 and September 1, 2023, and surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,504 English and French-Canadian office workers. To qualify for the survey, respondents must have been currently working at an office or remotely at companies with 500+ employees.

The precision of Asking Canadians online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.19 margin of error at a 95% confidence level. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement errors that may be off by +/- 1%.

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