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The majority of workers use automation software at work—here's why

By Zapier Editorial Team · September 1, 2020
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Nearly two-thirds of knowledge workers (64 percent) currently use automation software at work—and nearly a fifth (18 percent) intend to use it in the future.

No one dreams of doing the repetitive work that we've been told is a necessary part of our job. This could explain why people are turning to automation (i.e., software designed to automatically complete tasks/processes) to help them work smarter, complete tasks faster, focus on important work, and make them better at their jobs.

That's according to a recent survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zapier, which explored who's using automation at work—and why. This quarterly report will measure knowledge workers' use of automation at work over time to better understand how it’s impacting their work.

automation confidence index

People use automation to be better at their jobs

Ask knowledge workers why they use automation software, and the most common answers are all about self-improvement and agility: completing tasks faster, focusing on things that matter, and being more organized are all near the top of the list. Here are the most common responses.

automation confidence index
  • Automation software helps me complete tasks faster – 43 percent

  • Automation software helps me be more organized at work – 40 percent

  • Automation software improves the way I work overall – 38 percent

  • Automation software helps me and my team focus on important work – 36 percent

  • My employer started using automation software – 31 percent

  • I want to reduce human error and oversight in everyday tasks – 31 percent

  • I believe using automation will help me advance my business or career faster – 29 percent

  • I believe automation is a skill employers value – 28 percent

  • I like to experiment with new technology – 27 percent

  • I use a number of apps that wouldn’t work well together without automation – 20 percent

Automation saves people time and reduces errors

Almost everyone who uses automation software—96 percent!—says that they benefit from it. Here are the most common benefits:

  • I save time by using automation software – 44 percent

  • Automation software enables me to complete my projects faster – 39 percent

  • Automation software reduces the number of errors in my work – 38 percent

  • I get more done with automation software – 37 percent

  • Automation software makes me better at my job overall – 36 percent

  • Automation software enables me to accomplish more with fewer resources – 33 percent

  • Using automation software makes me look more professional – 31 percent

  • Automation software saves me a significant amount of time each week – 31 percent

  • Automation software saves my company money – 30 percent

  • Automation software allows me more time to work on other things I value/enjoy more – 30 percent

  • Automation software prevents work from falling through the cracks – 29 percent

  • Using automation software allows me to work fewer hours – 25 percent

  • Automation software sets me apart from my coworkers – 18 percent

What about the people who aren't using automation software at work?

The most common reasons given for why people aren't using automaton suggest that they simply don't know much about it.

automation confidence index
  • I don’t see how automation software could be useful to my job right now – 33 percent

  • I didn’t know automation software was an option for me – 23 percent

  • My workplace is not tech-savvy – 17 percent

  • I don’t understand what automation software is – 13 percent

  • I don’t use different apps and software at work – 12 percent

  • I/my company can’t afford automation software – 11 percent

  • It’s difficult to find time to learn a new skill – 10 percent

  • I am afraid using automation software will drastically change the responsibilities of my role – 6 percent

  • Automation software is difficult to set up – 6 percent

  • I’m afraid of using automation software – 4 percent

Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zapier from August 4-6, 2020 among 1,198 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older among whom 912 are knowledge workers (primarily work in a professional setting and use a computer as part of their job).

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