Businesses are missing out on the benefits of automating workflows, according to a survey by print and digital technology specialist Ricoh Europe.

Most employees now believe that digitalising processes improves their work because admin-heavy workloads and inadequate workflow technology hamper their experience.

Currently, only 11% of office workers have access to workflow automation tools while two-fifths (44%) reported no change in their company’s investment in tools to automate tasks or processes over the past year.

That is despite 69% saying that automating processes makes their work better – a shift from more sceptical attitudes to workplace digitalisation before the start of the Covid pandemic.

The survey was conducted by strategic insight agency Opinium for Ricoh Europe into the views of 3,000 workers across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Nearly half of workers (49%) said they would be more productive if their administrative burden was not so high.

However, two-fifths (42%) said they were confused by the number of technology platforms they were expected to use, saying these additional tools actually increased their workload rather than streamline it.

Nicola Downing, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said: “Gone are the days where employees felt concerned about their roles being ‘replaced’ by automation.

“The value of technology and automation, when implemented effectively, is widely seen to free up time to work on more valuable activities.

“Ultimately, if employers fail to weave automation into their long-term hybrid working strategies, they could be missing an important opportunity to improve operations while boosting morale and productivity across the entire workforce.”