Microsoft recently published its Work Trend Index survey based on input from 31,000 workers across the globe. The survey highlights the various challenges that businesses face when they transition to new working models. In light of Covid-19, the survey’s findings are especially relevant for recent years. Drawing from trillions of signals sourced from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn, the Work Trend Index survey identifies a series of trends from the shift towards hybrid working due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
What were the significant findings?
In summary, Microsoft asserts that it is up to businesses to make it worthwhile for employees to commute into the office. In many cases, according to Microsoft, companies are making a few critical mistakes in the hybrid working environment.
- Businesses attempt to revert to old methodologies as society begins to normalcy around the world, namely, pressuring employees to return to the office (primarily due to the shared belief by 54% of senior executives that employees are far less productive at home than in the office).
- Over 50% of companies plan to mandate a full-time return to the office over the next 12 months; however, 52% of workers report they prefer hybrid or fully remote work over a mandatory in-office return.
- Companies are assuming all employees have one preferred style of work when in reality they should be meeting different employees where they are at (i.e., preferences to work remote, hybrid, or in-office). If the business prefers in-office work, it’s up to the company to make travel to the office worth the commute for the employee.
- Companies ignore the adverse effects of work-life balance for employees who are forced to be in the office from 9-5 every day. They are undervaluing the positives of a more flexible system related to relationships among team members, employee retention, and overall employee satisfaction.
One thing is for sure: all of us are learning as we go, whether we are viewing this from the lens of a business owner, or from the lens of an employee. The effects of the pandemic on work-life balance, hybrid working environments, and employee happiness have been complex and ever-evolving.