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Knowledge workers' most dreaded tasks

By Zapier Editorial Team · April 27, 2021
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The most dreaded task in every state has one thing in common: it's something humans shouldn't have to do anymore because computers can do it instead. 

A Zapier survey of marketers, operations managers, IT professionals, and other roles in businesses with up to 250 people shows that the most dreaded task for knowledge workers is data entry: simply moving information from one piece of software to another. 

This and other mindless tasks, which are easily automated, take up an average of 17.3 hours a week—almost half the work week. This means businesses have a unique opportunity: to reduce employee burnout while simultaneously increasing productivity. 

Infographic showing workers' most dreaded tasks

Workers' most dreaded tasks by state

Coast to coast, knowledge workers share a dislike of repetitive work—sometimes spending upwards of 20 hours each week on it. 49 percent of workers say these dreaded tasks take away from time spent on strategic work, and 39 percent say they feel like a waste of time.

Infographic showing the breakdown by state

Automating mundane tasks makes workers happier

Among companies that implemented automation software:

  • 46 percent say they're better able to focus on growing their career

  • 60 percent say they're more valued for their skills

59 percent of employees at companies that don't use automation software said they'd be happier with automation, and 48 percent said they'd have more time to spend on strategic or creative work

This means automation software is a rare opportunity for a win-win: companies could be more productive and employees could be more satisfied with their jobs.

If you're constantly copying and pasting between apps, or spend lots of time on data entry, you can set up an automation that does the job for you. Automation has all of the most dreaded tasks covered, from scheduling meetings to tracking your time, and even automating your project management


Zapier surveyed 1,000 U.S. knowledge workers from small and medium businesses (fewer than 250 total employees). This survey was completed online using OnePoll in April 2021 and responses were random, voluntary, and completely anonymous.

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