People spend more time than you think repeating completed tasks

A new global study of more than 10,000 office workers, claims that British workers spend a whole month a year (30 days) doing work that a colleague has already completed. Five hours and 5 minutes a week is spent duplicating work. Asana, the publisher of the Anatomy of Work Index (registration) also claims that Brits aren’t spending as much time on the actual work that they’re hired to do.

Tasks such as responding to constant emails and message notifications, attending unexpected meetings and chasing people for input or feedback, now consumes 60 percent of the average office worker’s time at work. This is work about work, and it is a universal challenge impacting UK productivity.

Other key UK findings include:

  • Only 27 percent of UK office workers’ time is spent doing the job they were hired to do – for example analysing data, finding sales leads or market analysis
  • More than 60 percent of their time is spent on low-value or unnecessary tasks such as searching emails for information, managing shifting priorities, sitting in meetings and communicating about the status of projects.
  • 4 hours and 5 minutes each week are spent in meetings – 2 hours 31 minutes are deemed unnecessary. That’s two thirds of all meetings, and 113 hours a year
  • 2 in 3 (68 percent) of Brits are asked to do something that doesn’t feel valuable to their business objectives every week — more than any other country surveyed
  • And a third of UK workers (30 percent) often or always work late


The top factors driving people in the UK to work late, ranked in order include:

  • Having to respond to constant notifications of emails and messages
  • Having to chase people for input or approval
  • Unexpected meetings
  • Lack of clarity on ownership of tasks
  • Lack of clarity on what needs to be done on a task


Meanwhile, global findings claim:

  • Work about work is a worldwide issue. Like the UK, office workers around the world spend most of their (60 percent) time on tasks such as searching for information, managing shifting priorities, sitting in meetings and communicating about project status
  • Leaving only 13 percent for strategic planning and 27 percent for the skill-based job they were hired to do – this is the same for the UK
  • While lower than the UK, globally each worker wastes 4 hours and 38 minutes per week on duplicated work – a huge blow for productivity worldwide.
  • Despite its reputation for high levels of productivity, Germany actually spends the most time duplicating work, at 5 hours 9 minutes a week and 270 hours a year.
  • Consistently across the globe, respondents believe that nearly two-thirds of meetings are unnecessary and a waste of time
  • And the amount of emails and notifications office workers have to respond to is driving people to work late across the world. Unexpected meetings and chasing people for input or approval are other key factors