Study reveals Singapore office staff to be the least productive

According to the recent Global Productivity Study by Unit4, provider of enterprise systems for service organisations, Singapore office workers spend only 60 per cent of their time on primary duties.

This is lower than the global average of 72 per cent, possibly hinting Singaporean staff as the least productive group.

Singaporean office employees spend 380 hours a year (equivalent to 47.5 work days or two months of the working year) completing administrative or repetitive tasks rather than their primary job function.

This loss of productivity is costing Singapore's service industry more than $36.5 billion annually.

On average, respondents aged 41 and above estimate they spend significantly more time on their primary duties compared to those aged 26-30.

In the study, Singapore office workers identified the amount of time they spend on specific daily administrative tasks that prevent them from focusing on their primary duties.

This included manually collating and entering data (30 per cent), tracking their project status (26 per cent), with 20 per cent citing handling invoices, and 11 per cent citing submitting expenses and planning travels.

Stephan Sieber, CEO of Unit4 said: "Left unchanged, this productivity issue could be crippling for business, particularly services organisations who rely on the strengths and output of their people."

When asked if they would trust technology - such as a digital / virtual assistant or software application - to manage repetitive tasks, 83 per cent of Singaporean office workers said they would.

72 per cent felt they would see improved productivity, and 69 per cent felt it would improve their happiness. They are also confident that this technology will be available soon, particularly younger workers (even within a year).

Additionally, 78 per cent of workers in Singapore agree that technology that aids administration is important for their company to remain competitive.

"The shifting of roles and responsibilities that come from technological advancements will see more people spending their time on value-added services to help a business grow. We believe that the future of work will be supported by the best technology, enabling the best people to deliver more value to their customers than their competitors," said Sieber.

The Global Productivity Study was an online survey commissioned by Unit4 and conducted by DJS Research in April / May 2017 with 1,505 office-based employees working in the service industry in 11 countries, including Singapore.