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Paying the price for poor document processes

Adobe
technology

Employees are frustrated by inefficient processes; signals that electronic signatures, mobile apps and other technologies are key to providing a better way.

Adobe today released new findings revealing that professionals across Europe are spending almost one day a week (6.8 hours) on office administration such as filling out forms, printing documents, and chasing for signatures. Seemingly simple tasks are complex and time-intensive, and as a result, are inhibiting business growth, draining productivity and wasting resources. According to the research, business productivity is taking a significant hit with almost half of European employees (48 percent) reporting that they have lost a contract all together due to office tasks going wrong, and one in three (33 percent) have been forced to cancel a project due to the same problem—highlighting a significant area of concern for businesses.

The new report, Document Drain: How Back-Office Processes are Shredding Productivity, surveyed 7,000 professionals from businesses across Europe, found that time is being spent inefficiently, at a significant cost for businesses. Basic office tasks such as printing and emailing documents have been labelled the biggest time culprits (96 percent), while 75 percent of employees say the processes around printing and emailing documents are boring, time-consuming or challenging. Additionally, employees branded some admin as unnecessarily “complex,” such as searching for lost documents (with 65 percent of respondents agreeing), on-boarding new colleagues (62 percent) and chasing for signatures (61 percent).

Adobe’s Document Drain report also unveiled the opportunity businesses have to digitally transform office admin – curbing much of the frustration in companies today. According to the study, digital solutions such as electronic signatures were recognised by 74 percent of European employees as a valuable innovation in the workplace, while almost half of French (48 percent), UK (45 percent) and German (44 percent) employees said mobile apps would be critical to solving document problems. Interestingly, almost half of all European employees surveyed cited inefficient technology as the main driver behind office workflow issues – further underscoring the opportunity for smarter document technology and efficient, digital solutions.

“Today’s findings are a big wake-up call for businesses across Europe. Outdated processes are draining employee productivity and morale—potentially leading to a loss of revenue and a poor customer experience,” said John Travis, vice president of EMEA marketing at Adobe.

“Reimagining administrative processes through apps, digital documents, and other technologies provides the opportunity for companies to transform the experience for employees and customers alike—and ultimately is an investment in future growth and success.”

Key findings from “Document Drain” include: European Companies Paying the Price for Poor Document Processes; Employees in Europe are currently spending significant time on office admin, with almost one day a week being devoted to these tasks (average 6.8 hours); France and Sweden are spending the most time (average of 7 hours). European employees are inundated with office processes that rarely go to plan, with 41 percent of respondents indicating that raising POs, filling out forms and on-boarding colleagues all take much longer than they should.

There’s a Better Way to Move Business Forward
Simplified digital processes such as electronic signatures were identified as a key solution in helping achieve higher productivity and more free time, with the majority of European employees (74 percent) finding e-signatures to be valuable. Interestingly, employees in The Netherlands valued e-signature technology the most (80 percent), followed by professionals in the UK (77 percent), Nordics (75 percent), France (68 percent) and Germany (65 percent). Mobile apps have also been identified as a key way to revolutionise European offices as nearly half of French (49 percent), UK (45 percent) and German (44 percent) office employees indicated they would improve their office workflows.

Freedom, Not Frustration
Modern professionals seek the freedom to work wherever and whenever they want. Document Drain found that many workers feel tied to the office, with two thirds (64 percent) working late or on weekends (49 percent) due to office admin not going to plan.  Digital solutions such as e-signatures were thought to be valuable in speeding up processes—enabling employees to spend their time in other, more productive ways.

Country-by-country, European employees prefer to spend time lost on office admin differently. UK employees were more likely to be entrepreneurial and spend lost time on a side project (42 percent), while French professionals would prefer to get away from the office and exercise (44 percent). Meanwhile, German respondents would use the extra time socialising with others (40 percent). Finally, employees in the Nordics and The Netherlands would much rather turn this lost time into quality time with their partners (55 percent and 52 percent respectively).

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