Bosses worry that employees working from home aren’t being as productive as they could be, while workers believe the opposite, according to new research from Microsoft.
The software giant surveyed 20,000 employees across 11 countries. Although 87% of staff felt they worked as, or more, efficiently at home than they did in the office, 85% of leaders said they were not confident their teams were being as productive.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has called this rift “productivity paranoia” and urges organisations to work on bridging the disconnect.
The survey also revealed that 73% of employees need a better reason to go into the office other than company expectations. The chance to socialise with colleagues or rebuild team bonds ranked highly, however, among 84% and 85% of employees respectively.
Statistics from its own platform Teams show that the number of meetings per week has grown by 153% globally for the average user, while the number of overlapping meetings increased by 46% per person in the last year.
Home working & hybrid
Workers are also being bombarded by requests for meetings, with the number of declines and “tentative” RSVPs to meetings soaring by 84% and 216% respectively.
Both managers and employees are feeling burnt out, according to the company’s research. Forty-eight percent of employees and 53% of managers feel this way.
Despite the value of gauging employees’ expectations and experiences of hybrid work arrangements, over half of organisations (57%) rarely or never collect employee feedback, Microsoft found.
The survey also found that more than half of employees believe they need to leave their current employer to build new skills, with 55% believing this to be the case. Sixty-eight percent said they would stay longer at a company if it was easier to change jobs internally, while 76% said they would stay longer if they could access more learning and development support.
Ryan Roslansky, chief executive of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, said the number of fully remote jobs being advertised on its site had peaked, however. In recent months, the proportion of jobs advertised as fully remote has dropped from 20% to 15%, he told the BBC.
Microsoft urged organisations to “re-recruit” employees in a bid to retain them. “Rather than ignore or fight these trends, the best leaders will prioritise learning and development to help both people and the business grow,” the research advised.
This is especially urgent with younger workers – Microsoft found that 76% of Gen Z or millennial workers aspired to be their own boss, versus 63% of those from Gen X or older.
It has launched a number of enhancements to its Viva platform to address some of the challenges in retaining and upskilling employees.
This includes a new app called Pulse that will allow managers to seek regular and confidential feedback on how employees are feeling, and Answers, which uses artificial intelligence to match employee questions with answers from experts across the organisation.