Microsoft’s study of enterprise workplaces finds a major disconnect in hybrid work

Microsoft’s study of enterprise workplaces finds a major disconnect in hybrid work

Ο Jared Spataro, εταιρικός αντιπρόεδρος της Microsoft της Modern Work, παραθέτει τα αποτελέσματα από τον τελευταίο Δείκτη Τάσεων Εργασίας της Microsoft <a href=during a Thursday morning webcast. (Image via Microsoft webcast)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/TdVTq9mVMFrV97QRGUQPMQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM2OQ–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api /res/1.2/Yx83keCZaP33CQuQaoPEcw–~B/aD0zMzA7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/geekwire_312/17210ea58a1e057d711ab183563c04d0″ data-src=”https://s.yimg/res.com/ny/api /1.2/TdVTq9mVMFrV97QRGUQPMQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM2OQ–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/Yx83keCZaP33CQuQaoPEcw–~B/aD0zMzA7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-enfs.com/media/en geekwire_312/17210ea58a1e057d711ab183563c04d0″/>
Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Modern Work, lays out the results from the latest Microsoft Work Trends Index during a webcast Thursday morning. (Image via Microsoft webcast)

A major perception gap between workers and leaders could make hybrid work unsustainable in companies around the world if left unaddressed, Microsoft warned Thursday as it released the findings of a new workplace study.

This disconnect, which Microsoft calls “productivity paranoia,” is one of the key findings from the survey of 20,000 people at companies in 11 countries, conducted for Microsoft by a third-party firm in July and August.

One of the causes is the decline of the old practice of “walking management” due to remote working. The survey found that lack of confidence in worker productivity is more common among managers whose teams continue to work away from the traditional office at least part of the time.

At the same time, data collected from the use of Microsoft software and online services indicates a continuous increase in overall employee activity.

  • The number of weekly meetings has increased 153% since the start of the pandemic for the average Microsoft Teams user since this spring, and the trend shows no signs of abating, the company said.

  • About 42% of meeting participants multitask by sending emails and other messages. This does not include other forms of multitasking, such as reading email or browsing the web.

In addition to potential burnout, one danger is that employees try to look like they’re working, rather than actually doing productive work, a phenomenon that author Anne Helen Petersen has identified as LARP-ing or “live-action role-playing” jobs. work.

Speaking in a live webcast from London, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said one key is recognizing and understanding the new reality of work and not waiting to turn the clock back to 2019, before the pandemic.

“Work as we know it has structurally undergone a massive change,” Nadella said during the virtual event. “I think we need to rethink ourselves, in some ways, about what the fundamental meaning of work is.”

Microsoft executive Jared Spataro, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky during Microsoft's virtual event Thursday in London.  (Image via Microsoft webcast.)

Microsoft executive Jared Spataro, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky during Microsoft’s virtual event Thursday in London. (Image via Microsoft webcast.)

Seth Patton, general manager of Microsoft 365, said in an interview that the company sees clear communication, goal setting and constant feedback as key ways to address challenges.

“What’s needed right now is not counting the hours of work,” Patton said. Instead, companies should “really focus on results that [they] they need to lead and provide clarity to employees that otherwise they will be doing a bunch of busy work and then get feedback on what they need to support them to be successful.”

Patton said Microsoft opposes the practice in which companies use technology to actively monitor the computer activity of individual employees, through workplace surveillance tools, to determine productivity and pay.

Microsoft in November 2020 faced backlash over a “Productivity Score” tool in Microsoft 365, eventually announcing that it would remove the ability for companies to see data about individual users in the feature to address concerns from privacy experts about the potential use of technology to spy on employees.

In announcing the survey results on Thursday, Microsoft cited the importance of helping employees connect with each other as a motivation for personal work. In addition, the company said it is important to “re-recruit” existing employees to help them identify their best internal roles and growth opportunities, compared to looking for jobs elsewhere.

This chart from Microsoft, based on two years of aggregated, anonymized user data from Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, shows a steady average increase in the number of meetings per person.  <a href=See the interactive version.” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Pk1uMu_sA8gc0cPVvfTYJg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ2Nw–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2 /q4LEI0IgmGEjiOndzPXvGQ–~B/aD00MTc7dz02MzA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/geekwire_312/543d07e0074df89c7e9667d3800d5902″/>
This chart from Microsoft, based on two years of aggregated, anonymized user data from Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, shows a steady average increase in the number of meetings per person. See the interactive version.

“People want to feel very connected to their work,” said LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, appearing alongside Nadella during the company’s virtual event Thursday. “They want to feel connected to the company, connected to their manager. They want to know that their work matters. And one of the most important ways to do that is to make sure you have the right people, with the right skills, in the right role.”

Of course, this isn’t purely academic for Microsoft. The company cites the findings as the basis for several new and updated features in its employee experience platform Viva, including tools to conduct quick surveys with employees, set clear goals for work, and encourage employee learning and development.

Microsoft announced Viva in March 2021 as its entry into the increasingly competitive technology market that aims to help companies improve employee engagement and productivity and the overall work environment.

The company says Viva now has 10 million monthly active users, with more than 1,000 paid enterprise customers who didn’t previously buy Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Teams.

Earlier this year, Microsoft also announced new integrations between Viva and Glint, the employee feedback tool that Microsoft-owned LinkedIn acquired in 2018. Viva also integrates LinkedIn Learning.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016. LinkedIn was responsible for $13.8 billion in revenue in Microsoft’s 2022 fiscal year, which ended June 30, up 34% from the previous year.

Microsoft competes with a number of services in the market for communication and collaboration technology, including Zoom and Salesforce’s Slack. Seattle-area employee experience company Limeade, which acquired workplace survey tool TINYPulse last year, announced an integration with Microsoft Viva around the same time.

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