Fiona Smith Columnist

Fiona writes on workplace issues, including management, psychology, workplace design, human resources and recruitment. She is a former Work Space editor at The Australian Financial Review and has also covered property, technology, architecture and general news.

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Admin work and the joy of mindless tasks

Published 12 February 2013 11:34, Updated 13 February 2013 10:18

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Admin work and the joy of mindless tasks

Canon’s research suggests many Australians might be having a secreat affair with mundane office work. Image: Canon

Office administration is regarded as one of the most frustrating parts of our day – but more than half of us secretly enjoy it.

“Admin” is the stuff that gets in the way of our actual work. It is sometimes also called “organisational rain” – I don’t know why.

But sometimes we just need some time out, a break from thinking, and that’s why 65 per cent of staff admitted to Canon Australia that they secretly enjoy mundane tasks like cleaning out their junk email folders, organising their desks, filling out forms and filing.

In the poll of 1005 workers in late 2012, Canon discovered that admin tasks are increasing year by year and having a negative impact on staff productivity.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said their admin workload had increased in the past 12 months, and 39 per cent expected it to increase further in the coming year.

Administration tasks include activities such as faxing (people still do that?), photocopying, scanning, filing, data entry, invoice processing and securing document approvals.

Increased regulation and the need to retain documents was blamed by 27 per cent for the rise in such tasks.