• To better understand how organizations can flourish while also supporting employees, Microsoft surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries and analyzed troves of data. 
  • Microsoft found that in order to empower workers, there are three changes employers/leaders will need to make. 
  • These necessary pivots include ending productivity paranoia, re-recruiting their existing workers, and embracing the fact that workers only want to come back into the office for the social benefits. 

With the global pandemic came innovations and new ways of working. Hybrid and remote work arrangements became widely accepted, but now as society is slowly going back to normal, it seems employers and employees do not see eye-to-eye on working from home.   

Workers embraced remote and hybrid working with open arms and are continuing to fight to continue working this way, but they’re receiving a huge pushback from employers lately.  

It’s the responsibility of leaders and employers to do what’s best for employee retention as well as company success — which, in a perfect world, would go hand-in-hand.

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To better understand how organizations can flourish while also supporting employees, Microsoft surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries and analyzed trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, along with LinkedIn labor trends and Glint People Science findings.

Microsoft found that in order to empower workers and thrive despite economic turbulence, there are three changes employers/leaders will need to make.  

1. Leaders should end productivity paranoia

Hustle culture is a trend that encourages people to work to exhaustion in order to achieve their goals and earn more money. People feel pressured to work and produce more than ever, which can lead to serious burnout.

87% of employees have reported that they are productive at work, and productivity signals across Microsoft 365 continue to climb. At the same time, 85% of leaders say that the shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to be confident that employees are being productive.  

Leaders fear that lost productivity is due to employees not working — even though the hours worked, number of meetings, and other activity metrics have actually increased. This is essentially “productivity paranoia.”

“Productivity paranoia risks making hybrid work unsustainable. Leaders need to pivot from worrying about whether their people are working enough to helping them focus on the work that’s most important,” according to Microsoft’s report.  

Employees who report having clarity about their work priorities are nearly four times more likely to say they plan to stay at the company for at least two years, and more than seven times more likely to say they rarely think about looking for a new job. 

48% of employees and 53% of managers report that they’re feeling burned out at work. In order to combat this, leaders should prioritize creating clarity and purpose so that there’s no confusion or sense of productivity pressure, as well as aligning work with the company’s mission and the team’s goals. 

2. Leaders should embrace the fact that workers come back into the office for the social aspect 

Microsoft’s data shows that employees come into the office to get what they miss: social connection. For companies, rebuilding the social aspect of the workplace can be a good motivator for bringing workers back into the office.

73% of employees and 78% of business decision makers say they need a better reason to come into the office other than just company expectations.  

“Organizations that fail to use in-person time to rebuild and strengthen team bonds may risk losing out on attracting and retaining top talent,” according to the report.  

  • 84% of employees would be motivated to come back into the office if they knew they could socialize with their coworkers 
  • 85% would be motivated to come into the office by the promise of rebuilding team bonds 
  • Employees would go into the office more often if they knew their direct team members would be there (73%) or if their work friends were there (74%) 
  • 68% of business decision makers say that ensuring social connection within teams has been a moderate/major challenge due to the uptick of hybrid work  

Leaders should create a plan to bolster the digital employee experience in order to encourage and help employees stay connected to leadership, to their coworkers, and to company culture (no matter where they’re working from).   

3. Leaders should re-recruit their workers

There’s no better time than the present for companies to re-energize their employees. This can include re-educating workers in order to help them grow; 76% of employees say they’d stay at their company longer if they could receive more learning and development support.   

“The data shows if people can’t learn and grow, they’ll leave. As employees embrace a new ‘worth-it’ equation, they’re increasingly turning to job-hopping, the creator economy, side hustles, and entrepreneurship to achieve their career goals…rather than ignore or fight these trends, the best leaders will prioritize learning and development to help both people and the business grow,” according to Microsoft’s report.   

Organizations may find that they benefit from fostering a learning culture within their workplace; growth is a valuable aspect of the employee experience.

The flexibility that workers require in order to be successful and be retained will prove to be a permanent feature in the future of work, and, hopefully, organizations will understand that embracing remote work will help them realize their full potential.  





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