Ah, the dreaded spreadsheet. A juggernaut of grids that contains everything and anything about your projects. You're reliant on it as the primary source for all updates, check-ins, and approvals. As you depend on the spreadsheet more, you end up spending more time maintaining it than actually using it. You've been swallowed into the "spreadsheet hole of despair."

You might be thinking, "Sure, spending time on spreadsheets takes up a lot of time, but it's worth it." But is it?

Katy Scott, the Digital Learning Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, was using spreadsheets to run the aquarium's various education programs. But spreadsheets became a roadblock, requiring a ton of maintenance time that her team didn't have.

"Our education programs are some of the best in the country, and our team was doing it with Excel spreadsheets," says Scott. "But when we realized that we're growing and that balls were getting dropped, it was never due to incompetence, it always came down to communication."

According to our Work Management Survey, 64% of more than 1,000 workers surveyed report typically storing information in a spreadsheet or cloud-based document. Out of that 64%, the top 3 causes of stress at work are the following:

  1. Problems with prioritization of tasks
  2. Missing information
  3. Unrealistic goals for projects

The facts are there: Regardless of all the time you put into spreadsheets, they are inefficient and costly. Let's take a look at the three major things you sacrifice while managing a spreadsheet.

1. Wasted time

Time is money, and you definitely waste a lot of it on spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets create silos. Teams break down into people working in their own spreadsheets. This creates havoc. Your teams give or receive conflicting feedback. Old data is mistaken for the latest. And priorities are unclear. No one knows what to work on today. More than that, no one remembers when it was due—today, yesterday, or two weeks ago? Before you know it, your top talent wastes time updating spreadsheet after spreadsheet.

Let's break it down: Let's say you manage a team of five. That team each spends one hour a week updating spreadsheets. That's a total of five hours a week, and 20 hours a month. Let's say the average full-time employee costs about $50 an hour. With that said, your spreadsheet is costing you approximately $1,000 a month to maintain. Ouch.

Solution: A work management tool can help you automate the admin work required for spreadsheets, allowing you to focus on more important work. Tools like Wrike take care of the tedious, repetitive tasks that need to be done, such as building an employee utilization Excel template and auto-assigning work, and free you and your team up for the creative work they were hired to do.

2. Risky security

Once you send out an Excel spreadsheet to your team, what happens to it? The sensitive information on that spreadsheet is now in all those inboxes. What if a disgruntled employee left the company? Or if someone outside the company gained access to their email?

How Spreadsheets Are Costing You Time, Money, and Errors Restricted Area

Locally-saved spreadsheets have some protections, such as restricting access, but they're primarily geared toward the structure than the actual data. Excel spreadsheets with proprietary data can be extremely costly if compromised, so it's important to consolidate information as much as possible, so you're able to control access to it at all times.

There are better protections with online spreadsheets, such as viewing permissions, but you still run a great risk.

Solution: Sharing your data in a work management tool allows you to completely customize what you wish to share and what you wish to keep private.

With Wrike, you can select who is able to see and edit the data, and remove them at any time, while keeping the information in a single safe location.

3. Inaccurate data

Are you sure you have the latest version of an Excel spreadsheet? If you're sending it out so people can edit it, how do you know? You could waste your time editing an old spreadsheet.

Sure, cloud-based spreadsheets save all work automatically. But, there's no way to see older versions. What if a stakeholder wanted to see the original draft of something? There would be no way to go back and get that data.

Not to mention: errors. Manually updating everything opens up the possibility of making a mistake. We're only human after all.

In fact, various studies over the past few years report that 88% of all spreadsheets have "significant" errors in them. And the problems don't end there.

According to the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (EuSpRIG), a global resource for spreadsheet risk management, spreadsheet errors can have a tangible impact on companies ranging from lost revenue to financial failure to fraud.

Solution: A work management tool allows you and your team to work in tandem, so all work you do is in real time. That way, you're always looking at the latest version. Everything is updated and saved immediately. If you need to see an older version of something, Wrike's Revision History allows you to go back and see older versions of the document.

Time to Ditch Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets make you want to pull your hair out, so why are you still working in them? Time to look at a solution that could improve your processes and allow your team to ditch the admin work.

Still not convinced? Check out the comparison chart below that highlights the differences between spreadsheets and Wrike.

How Spreadsheets Are Costing You Time, Money, and Errors Wrike vs Spreadsheet

Ditch your spreadsheet and start your 2-week Wrike free trial!