Calculating Wasted Time

The True Cost of Admin Work in Workforce Management

What is the actual business impact of too much administrative work for resource managers? When it comes to running a large workforce – especially talent from different timezones, pay terms and industries – there is a lot of unaccounted-for time spent on admin tasks. 

These administrative burdens throttle the productivity of your organization, by pulling away focus that you could otherwise spend on higher-level strategic and creative work. 

Not to mention, the context switching costs of changing between tools and systems can make it difficult to focus on what you set out to do. Much of this admin work cannot be attributed directly to production, creative output, sales, or delivering your product/service (things that actually make money for your business). And there is no job number to bill it to. 

The Real Cost of Admin Work

A study by PwC and ADP found that workforce administration, payroll and other HR activities cost “over $1,400 per employee per year (PEPY) for large organizations and nearly $2,000 PEPY for mid-size organizations.”

Multiply that by the size of your workforce (let’s say you have 500 people), that’s $1 million a year in pure administrative tasks! 

the true cost of workforce administration on mid-sized and large orgs

What Do We Mean By “Admin Work”?

General and administrative expenses are the necessary costs and activities required to maintain a company’s daily operations. But they usually aren’t billable. This may include: 

  • Responding to Emails 
  • Paperwork & Contracts 
  • Payroll & Payment Processing 
  • Updating Spreadsheets 
  • Scheduling Meetings 
  • Status Updates 
  • Time Tracking 

In addition to these items, there is a category of energy that goes unnoticed but is wreaking havoc on the productivity of organizations worldwide: Context switching. 

Why Multitasking is a Myth 

Do you ever feel like your head is about to explode from overwhelm at the end of the day? And yet you also didn’t accomplish your priorities? This may be due to attempted multitasking. Studies show that the brain can really only focus on one thing at a time (unless it’s simple “muscle memory” tasks like talking on the phone while walking). 

What we do instead, when we try to multitask, is called “context switching,” which has a hidden cost on our teams’ productivity. 

  • An experiment cited in the American Psychological Association (APA) found that “even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”
  • Another study from the University of California, Irvine cited in Harvard Business Review reports that “after a notification has forced us to switch between tasks, it can take us about 23 minutes to get back to the task at hand.”

All that toggling between tabs, tools and tasks really starts to add up.

why multitasking is a myth - how long it takes to regain focus after context switching - Worksuite blog

Too Much Tool Switching

According to a 2023 report, organizations are using too many software tools. 

  • Mid-market companies (501–2,500 employees) use an average of 255 software tools. 
  • Large enterprises use an average of 664 apps, more than double the mid-market.

Not only is there procurement cost and tech creep in paying all these subscription fees. As mentioned, there is a hidden switching cost for each of your team members when toggling between apps. This adds up to a lot of otherwise productive time. 

Why not centralize and consolidate systems? 

We saved tens of thousands of pounds a year (with Worksuite). And in terms of people hours – between us all – hundreds if not thousands of hours a year.” 

— Alex Jordan, Editorial Lead, Skyscanner

Reducing Time Costs in Workforce Management

Automate your onboarding 

Whether you’re collecting NDA signatures, bank and tax info, or simply resumes and portfolios, you can eliminate a significant chunk of administrative burden by automating this process. Onboarding workflows run in the background on your behalf, collecting important documents and details while you focus on other things. 

Leveraging automated onboarding is how companies like Drops save 300 emails at a time. And it’s how The Daily Dot eliminated 5 hours of admin burden every week.

Consolidate tools to avoid switching costs 

Tools consolidation is key to not only reducing technical debt, but also eliminating some of the switching costs mentioned above. Many organizations use different software tools for sourcing, onboarding, contracting, task management, project management, invoicing, payroll, and communication with their talent. What if this could all be in one place? 

It’s a huge thing to have all paperwork under one system so we can reference it. This was not in a centralized location before, it was all over the place.”

— Michael McCoy, Contingent Workforce Program Manager, The Motley Fool

Centralize your rolodex, feedback & comms 

Say goodbye to manually updating spreadsheets. By using a centralized Freelance Management System (FMS) like Worksuite, enterprises can centralize their talent rolodex into one user-friendly platform that every team can see. 

From sharing internal feedback to external communication, to organizing talent based on skills, rates, geography and specialty — a singular source of truth that updates dynamically beats a manual spreadsheet any day. 

Stop the email chains 

Studies found that workers check their email around 11 times per hour. Think about the last time you were crafting the perfect email to follow up with a freelancer. Or when you had to chase down their invoice details. How long did you spend? 

Multiply that by the number of contractors and vendors in your rolodex, and this adds up to a significant amount of time spent in your inbox.

The cost of manual onboarding emails in a week - Worksuite blog

Use dynamic budget & spend tracking 

Stop doing manual math along the way. Leverage a system that gives you a birds-eye gut-check on how you’re tracking toward budgets, directly inside your task and project management tool. This way, you can remain agile and reallocate spend as needed to stay on-target and on-budget.

Eliminate Admin Burden for Good

With an end-to-end workforce management platform like Worksuite, organizations can dramatically reduce distracting administrative burdens, and keep their teams focused on the work that matters.

Want to see how Worksuite can automate away the admin labor? Request a live demo today.

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