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Microsoft to bosses: end your productivity paranoia when working from home

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If you want to keep your employees in uncertain times, you have to trust them, says Microsoft. Statistics show that hybrid workers are still productive.

 

Microsoft has presented the new edition of its Work Trend Index. Entitled “Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong?” the company provides the results of its worldwide survey data together with tips for action for the management floors.

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Since the return of many employees to offices, the hybrid model has established itself worldwide. However, there is a clear perception gap between employees and bosses about how well the new working model works. While the former have learned to appreciate the flexible working conditions and 87 percent of them also believe that they are still productive at work, executives are not so sure. 85 percent of bosses said they have a hard time trusting hybrid workers to be just as productive.

According to Microsoft, however, the data situation proves the workforce right: the weekly meetings had already increased by 153 percent at the beginning of the year compared to the times before the pandemic. A trend reversal could not be observed in the course of the year. At the same time, new data shows that 42 percent of employees do other work tasks during meetings – not even including passive tasks like checking email.

At the same time, non-transparent activity tracking, with which some companies check the working hours of the workforce, undermines the relationship of trust. Microsoft itself still had such a tracking tool on offer with its Productivity Score until the end of 2020.

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This creates a “productivity theater” in which remote employees want to appear busy with meaningless meetings, but are not interested in working efficiently. According to Microsoft, employer-side productivity paranoia is jeopardizing the long-term success of the remote/hybrid work model. One therefore appeals to the executive floors not to insist on just checking whether employees work enough. Rather, you have to show them better what is important, for example through Objective Key Results (OKR) and a corporate culture that rewards the quality of work and not the quantity.

For the new edition of the Work Trend Index, Microsoft surveyed 20,000 full-time workers in eleven countries. Between July 7 and August 2, 2022, people from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Canada and the United States took part. The survey data are representative of all countries. Microsoft is making the entire report, which also deals with data and information on working on office days and training opportunities, available for free download.

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