How to Reduce the Work it Takes to Work - Docket

How to Reduce the Work it Takes to Work

When the pandemic shut down the world, employees everywhere quickly adapted to working from home. Although the exponential increase in remote work has presented workers with many benefits, it has also come with notable challenges. According to a study conducted by Asana, a work management platform, employees from all over the world are experiencing burnout due to “the work it takes to work.”

Skilled employees are channeling their energy into redundant tasks, unnecessary meetings, and multitasking across multiple apps. Due to unclear priorities from leadership and lack of organization, employees have reported feeling disconnected from their work and uncertain of their purpose within their company. The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way, and there are solutions to combat this burnout.

The pandemic has brought a new normal to the workforce that remains a work in progress. This article discusses how companies can lead the way in reducing the work it takes to work so that employees can excel in the job that they were hired to do.

The Work it Takes to Work

Asana surveyed over 10,000 workers globally to help reveal what is working and what is not within their organizations. The data revealed that employees spend the majority of their work time not focusing on their skilled job, but on redundant tasks. These tasks are what we like to call, the work it takes to work. 

When employees should be focusing on strategic and skilled work, they find themselves stuck in meetings, switching between apps, searching for information in emails, and creating status updates. Specifically, 60% of employee time is spent completing the work it takes to work compared to the 26% of time spent working on skilled work. This allocation of time is not only unproductive for the organization but negatively impacts the satisfaction of employees. 

Due to so much time spent on the work it takes to work, employees are finding themselves working more hours than ever before. On average, employees are working 213 additional hours to make up for lost time. This hindrance to productivity is not sustainable from both a business and employee perspective. 

Multitasking is Not Productive

The normalization of multitasking in the workforce is the normalization of a myth. Multitasking does not exist — it is simply the rapid switching from one task to another. Multitasking overworks the brain, leading to inevitable burnout amongst employees. 

According to workers, the top barriers to productivity are: 

  1. Having too much work to do
  2. Having to respond to emails and messages
  3. Having too many meetings and video calls. 

Each of these factors interferes with the productivity of an employee by forcing them to multitask. When we eliminate multitasking due to the work it takes to work, employees have the opportunity to give their full attention to their strategic and skillful work. This leads to happier employees, greater quality of produced work, and optimized productivity. 

Simplicity is the Solution

As the pandemic slows down and the new normal becomes less new, organizations have the opportunity to implement progressive solutions to combat employee burnout. The tools needed to minimize the work it takes to work are available, and many companies are already reaping the benefits: 


Optimize the productivity of meetings with Docket so that employees sign off feeling productive and motivated. Docket simplifies meetings with collaborative agenda development so that the right topics are prioritized and time limits are clear. Additionally, Docket’s agenda templates allow for recurring meetings to be as efficient as possible. Agendas can also be linked with relevant documents so that everyone involved has access to the resources they need. By making the mission of a meeting clear to all beforehand, productivity is maximized during the meeting, and the information covered sticks well after.

Work Management Platform

A work management system connects all employees and helps them understand who is doing what, by when, and why. Through this, work environments become more interconnected and transparent, ensuring that no one is doing work that has already been done by someone else. Teams throughout the organization are able to collaborate efficiently and productively. A work management platform minimizes the work it takes to work so that employees can focus on making a positive contribution with their skills. 

Safe Discussion and Honest Feedback

Open dialogue is necessary to understand what is working and what is not working within an organization. Forums for feedback help employers understand what their workers need and what actions can be taken to enhance the employee experience. When individuals feel heard and understood, they feel a greater sense of connection to the organization.

Final Words

A new chapter within the working world is emerging as life becomes increasingly normal again. As more companies announce remote work as permanent, leaders must take action to alleviate the barriers caused by the work it takes to work. Employees who are able to focus on their skilled work are empowered through a sense of purpose within their job. With a sense of purpose comes optimized productively and an overall flourishing organization. 

About the Author

Sarah Jones

With an educational background in psychology, linguistics, and French studies, Sarah enjoys researching and writing about marketing, current events, positive global change, and holistic health. When not creating content, her time is spent outdoors with a book in hand.

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