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Zapier report: Canadians trail Americans when it comes to automation

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Zapier report: Canadians trail Americans when it comes to automation

We asked Canadian knowledge workers how they spend their time. Here's what they said.

By Zapier Editorial Team · September 7, 2021
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Canadian knowledge workers only spend 18 percent of their time on their core job functions and spend a shocking amount of time on data entry. And yet they still trail American companies when it comes to automation use.

That's according to a Zapier survey of 1,000 Canadians who work at or own small and medium-sized businesses. We asked these knowledge workers how they spend their workday and then compared their answers to American workers from an earlier survey we conducted with the same questions. 

Americans automate more than Canadians—but maybe out of necessity

36 percent of Americans say they are strongly encouraged to use automation tools at work, compared to only 28 percent of Canadians.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to more workers being introduced to automation workflow tools. Of the workers that use automation tools, the majority of Canadians (78 percent) started using them in the last two years.

  • But Canadians still trail Americans in automation usage—possibly because they feel like they don't need automation as much. They reported 38% less manual work, 36% fewer distractions from messaging apps, 23% fewer unnecessary meetings, and 20% less burnout than American workers.

An infographic showing the main productivity blockers for Canadian knowledge workers

How do Canadian knowledge workers spend their time? 

An infographic showing how Canadian knowledge workers spend their time

Still, Canadian workers aren't using their time in the most efficient way possible.

  • 18% of Canadians spend less than one hour a day on core job functions.

  • 71% of Canadians spend up to three hours a day on data entry.

  • 86% of Canadians spend up to five hours a day checking messenger apps. 

What motivates Canadian workers? Compensation and recognition are key.

Infographic showing what motivates Canadian knowledge workers
  • Getting a raise was the number one productivity motivator for Canadians (43 percent). 

  • Recognition from their boss (41 percent), feeling proud of their work (36 percent), and client or customer satisfaction (35 percent) rounded out the top four motivators.


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

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Zapier Editorial Team

The Zapier editorial team is an experienced group of writers and editors who want to help people be more productive at work.


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