Remote workers insist that they are very productive at home.  "Paranoid" bosses disagree

Remote workers insist that they are very productive at home. “Paranoid” bosses disagree

Image: iStock/Drazen Zigic

A new Microsoft survey found that 87% of workers feel as efficient at home as they do in the office, but the vast majority of bosses disagree.

According to results from Microsoft’s survey of 20,000 people in 11 countries, some 85% of business leaders suspect their employees are shirking at home, while only 12% have “full confidence”. ” in the productivity of their employees.

As companies begin to lure or bring workers back into the office full-time or on a hybrid basis, Microsoft highlights the emergence of “productivity paranoia” and says business leaders need to get away with it. put it back because it could jeopardize the future of hybrid work.

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Microsoft has embraced hybrid on its campuses and adapted its Office apps, including Teams, to hybrid working. Yesterday, it also announced new modules for its employee experience platform Viva, which aims to help companies integrate and interact with employees in the office and remotely.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the BBC this week: “We need to get past what we call ‘productivity paranoia’ because all the data we have shows that over 80% of people feel very productive – except their management thinks they’re not being productive. This means there’s a real mismatch between expectations and how they feel.

Microsoft describes productivity paranoia as a vicious cycle. Companies that use employee tracking technology undermine employee trust, which in turn can lead to a “productivity theatre,” where workers knowingly join unnecessary video meetings and respond to emails at times which look good.

A GitLab study found that remote workers spend an average of 67 minutes simulating productivity each day.

Microsoft data suggests that in an average week, 42% of people in a video meeting also send emails. The figure excludes activities such as reading email, working on files outside of a meeting and browsing the web.

Microsoft’s position on productivity paranoia is “where executives fear lost productivity is due to employees not working, even though hours worked, number of meetings, and other activity metrics increased”.

Employee attitudes toward the purpose of the office have also changed. Microsoft found that 73% of employees want a better reason to come back than just the company’s request. Most (about 85%) said they would like to go to the office to socialize with co-workers and recreate team bonds.

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While Microsoft, Google and Apple are implementing hybrid work, other companies such as Red Hat, Airbnb and Atlassian let employees choose where they work indefinitely. Red Hat’s director of human resources, Jennifer Dudeck, said “the office is where we used to work” and is now looking to make coming to the office “enjoyable and fun” for staff.

A recent survey by hiring platform Hired found that 57.1% of tech employees plan to look for a new job in the next six months. Even more would leave if a pay rise was delayed. This year, 61.7% of tech workers were employed in “remote-first” companies. More than half of respondents said they would immediately start looking for a new job if their employer demanded a return to the office.

Ryan Roslansky, head of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, told the BBC that 2% of Linked’s 14-15 million job postings involved remote work before the pandemic. Today, 15% of them do, but that’s down from 20% a few months ago.

Microsoft found that 55% of employees think the best way to develop their skills is to change companies. However, 68% said they would stay if they could easily move internally, while 76% said they would stay if they could get more learning and development support.

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