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UK employees happy to delegate work to robots  

Anthony Macciola

More than three fifths (63 percent) of UK employees would outsource work tasks to a robot if they could, according to research commissioned by ABBYY®, a global provider of content intelligent solutions and services.

For almost a quarter of Brits (24 percent) attending meetings is their most hated work activity. While one in six (17 percent) dislike reviewing long documents and more than one in eight (13 percent) don’t like speaking to customers, these are not jobs that workers want to delegate to robots.

The jobs that employees would most like to hand over to a machine are inputting data (16 percent), taking minutes and notes (14 percent) and electronic filing (12 percent). The good news for UK employees is that the majority (63 percent) spend less than one day a week on their most hated task: attending meetings. In contrast, one in four of the working population say they spend two or more days a week on data entry (26 percent), and electronic filing (24 percent). Therefore, the research suggests that the work people most want to delegate to robots are tasks that they both dislike and have to spend a significant amount of time doing.

Top 10 tasks UK employees most hate
Attending meetings 24 percent
Reviewing long documents 17 percent
Speaking to customers 13 percent
Speaking to your boss 11 percent
Manual data entry 10 percent
Tracking hours/time 10 percent
Taking notes in meetings 10 percent
Processing documents, e.g. payroll and invoices 9 percent
Booking time off 9 percent
Reporting 9 percent


Which of these most hated work tasks would you like to delegate to a robot?
Manual data entry 16 percent
Taking minutes and notes 14 percent
Electronic filing 12 percent
Tracking hours/time 11 percent
Processing documents, e.g. payroll and invoices 11 percent
Attending certain meetings 11 percent
Reviewing long documents 11 percent

British workers’ approach to jobs they dislike is also telling. Interestingly, one in seven (15 percent) try to avoid doing tasks they dislike altogether, while a quarter (26 percent) wait to be reminded by someone else. This potentially has repercussions for overall business efficiency and productivity.

“It is encouraging to see that the majority of UK workers would welcome the opportunity to delegate tasks – particularly those that are less interesting – to robots,” says Anthony Macciola, Chief Innovation Officer at ABBYY. “Whilst people may not enjoy spending time in meeting or speaking to customers or their boss, they clearly recognise the value they personally bring to those activities.

“For the vast majority, the idea of working with robots is still hypothetical. However, we find that enabling employees to work in partnership with robots enhances their job satisfaction, allowing them to spend more time on adding value to their businesses where it matters most. Thankfully for both employers and employees, technology such as content intelligence solutions can help to take away these tasks – without replacing workers,” Macciola concludes.

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