How Many Hours Does Your Agency Spend Processing Paperwork Each Year?

It’s a question many agencies ask – just how much time is spent every year processing paperwork that could be re-purposed to one-on-one interaction and engagement with agency employees? With recent mandates such as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo 17-22 directing agencies to improve efficiency and address performance issues to streamline the Federal Government, the answer to this question is more important than ever. 

Exactly how much time is spent on paperwork and spreadsheets that could be used for other, more direct actions, and how can technology tools help to reclaim that time by reducing the time it takes for certain actions?

Evaluating Time Spent on Common HR Tasks

There are several manual and paper-based processes in federal HR. Whether due to a lack of technology tools designed specifically for federal HR use, or because of established protocols that are difficult to transition, thousands of hours are spent each year on these tasks, all with substantial estimated savings if the right technology tools are implemented. As an example, an estimated three hours per incident is spent in manual processing of data and content management for position descriptions. Using technology tools to partially automate this process, it is estimated the process time can be reduced by two to just one hour, a 67% reduction, and an annual time savings of 500+ hours for a 4,000-agency headcount.

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Similar time savings for related tasks include:


Manual Time (per incident)

Automated Time (per incident)

Estimated Efficiency Improvement

Annual Time Savings (for 4,000 headcount)

Data and Content Management for Position Descriptions

3 hours

1 hour


500 hours

Retirement documentation and communications

20 hours

12 hours


2,240 hours

Employee on-boarding

5 hours

2.5 hours


700 hours

Answering retirement and benefits calls and emails

.25 hours

.125 hours


665 hours

Retirement application processing

3 hours

1 hour


400 hours

Benefits forms processing

.66 hours

.33 hours


132 hours

SF 52 Initiation and Tracking

10 hours

3 hours


2,800 hours


On a per agency basis, depending on headcount, automation of key processes can save hundreds or even thousands of hours – time that can be reinvested in employee engagement and reporting.

Better Understanding Processing Bottlenecks

Manual processing of spreadsheets and paper forms can also greatly limit the accessibility of key reporting and program metrics. These limitations lead to additional hours spent determining processing bottlenecks and outstanding work. To effectively pinpoint the cause of these issues and address them in a timely fashion, both time and more robust reporting tools are needed – both of which can be provided by technology tools that offer partial automation of these recurring tasks.

For federal agencies working to streamline HR processes, identify weak points, and improve overall performance of the workforce, technology tools offer an opportunity to make major changes. To learn more about how operational support technology can help address gaps in federal HR processes and reduce the amount of time spent on manual and paper-based processes, download our eBook, How Operational Support Technology Addresses Technology Gaps in Federal HR: