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European employees can’t do enough basic HR admin online

Many administrative HR tasks are still not completed electronically across European workplaces

Brussels, 27 February 2019: Despite living in a mobile-first world, employees across Europe say they can’t do enough basic HR admin tasks on mobile devices and many still do them offline. On average, only 10% of HR admin tasks are possible on mobile devices only and 58% is still completed offline. These are the results of a new survey from leading provider of global payroll and HR services, SD Worx, which looks into the extent of the digitisation of the workplace.

The report found that just 9% of European employees submit expenses only on mobile, while half of those surveyed are still submitting expenses non-electronically. Requesting leave is the most popular administrative task to be completed digitally, with 12% doing so by mobile only, a further 12% completing the job through both fixed and mobile devices and 26% by fixed devices only. Despite mobile only scoring low, it’s promising to see that software use is higher for tasks that are applicable to all employees.


    Of all surveyed HR administration tasks, only 20% on average can be done on mobile and too many HR admin tasks can still only be done on paper. Considering that the average person checks their phone about 50 times a day, mobile options would be expected to be more ingrained in the work environment. Not being able to do things digitally can have a huge impact on an organisation and its people.  Employees will spend too long on HR admin tasks, preventing them from completing more valuable work and ultimately having a negative impact on employee engagement.

      Digital disconnect

      The lack of online options for such everyday HR admin tasks has been noticed by employees across Europe. There is a disconnect between what they can currently do electronically at work versus what they would like to do. For example, only 47% of those surveyed are able to submit a sick note electronically, yet 64% would like to have the opportunity to do so. The gap is the smallest when it comes down to requesting and arranging business travel. 44% of employees can currently do this digitally, with 49% stating that they would like to be able to. 

        Employees want to do more digitally

        What people have the option to do digitally in terms on HR admin differs greatly depending on location. For example, 66% of those surveyed in the Netherlands can currently submit expenses online, whereas in Germany only 33% can. When it comes to requesting and arranging business travel, 55% of employees in the UK are able to do it digitally, compared to only 36% in Belgium. 

        Germany ranks considerably lower out of the countries surveyed across nearly all the categories suggesting that there is some way to go in terms of digitally transforming the workplace. The UK and The Netherlands consistently tend to come out on top across the activities that employees can currently do digitally.


            Germany has a huge opportunity with workplace tech

            Despite employees across all countries being keen in general to work digitally, surprisingly employees in Germany don’t rank the highest in terms of tasks they would like to do electronically. In fact, employees in Germany appear to be the least concerned out of the six countries. For example, 65% of employees in the UK would like to request a change in working time (such as part-time, parental leave) digitally, whereas that’s only important to 44% of those surveyed in Germany. 

            The UK generally had the highest number of respondents wanting the ability to do more tasks digitally at work. This would suggest that the more access people have to carry out work electronically, the more they want to see their options increase in the workplace. 


              Steven Van Hoorebeke, CEO of SD Worx Group comments: “Nearly all areas of our lives have been changed by technology. While it’s been the case in our personal lives for some time now, in some instances it’s been slow to take hold in the workplace. As seen in this report, employees want to be able to carry out basic HR admin on mobile but they are not always given the opportunity to do so. In order to keep employees engaged and productive, it is vital for employers to listen to these concerns and adapt to this new way of working.”

                For more information, please contact

                Katie Evans/Laura Lovejoy
                T: 020 7680 5500 sdworxteam@madebychameleon.com

                  About the survey

                  As the leading European player in payroll and HR, SD Worx provides worldwide services in the areas of payroll, HR, legal support, training, automation, consultancy and outsourcing. It focuses on customer centricity, fully embraces digitisation and is committed to international growth. More than 65,000 small and large organisations worldwide have currently placed their trust in SD Worx and its experience of more than 70 years.

                  The 4,150 employees at SD Worx operate in ten countries: Belgium (HQ), Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Austria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. SD Worx calculates the salaries of some 4.4 million employees and achieved a turnover of €443 million in 2017. SD Worx is co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies that together provide 32 million payroll calculations.