Microsoft’s latest update looks to address some of the most annoying aspects of hybrid working

Microsoft has revealed the findings of a huge new study examining what issues are still going wrong with hybrid working

The “Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong?” report is based on 20,000 people from 11 countries, looking at “trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals.”

The report claims that “people are working more than ever”, although managers are continuing to question their employees’ productivity.

Productivity risks?

According to the data, users are having 153% more Microsoft Teams meetings than pre-pandemic levels, which has led to an 84% increase in meeting declines and a 216% growth in tentative RSVPs.

The significant rise in meetings could be partly due to the sentiment that hybrid working has made it challenging to have confidence in employees’ productivity – a thought shared by 85% of the leaders surveyed. 

With so many video conferencing and collaboration tools battling it out to offer the best services following a recent spike in hybrid working and WFH routines, companies are looking for new ways to target their audiences.

Microsoft believes managers should focus on helping their workers be more productive and to prioritize their workload, rather than so-called “productivity paranoia”, and to help with this, its new Viva Pulse app is designed to facilitate feedback between employees and leaders with “research-backed questions” and confidentiality at heart.

Return to office?

Earlier this year, Apple implemented a return-to-office policy in the wake of Google’s return policy, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk has threatened to fire office no-shows. For many, though, the prospect of leaving their home is not an enticing one. Microsoft says 73% of employees and 78% of business decision makers need a “better reason to go in than just company expectations.”

Some of the key reasons for travelling into the formal working location are socializing with colleagues and improving teamwork on projects that require collaboration. 

The study suggests that businesses build better digital communities to help workers stay connected. Among some of the many new Viva updates is Viva Amplify which is designed to help users “elevate” their messages with built-in guidance. Other updates, like People in Viva and Viva Answers, use artificial intelligence to help create better connections and responses.

WFH and side hustles

The third point, entitled “re-recruit your employees”, comes in response to LinkedIn data suggesting that Gen Z employees are changing jobs 22% faster this year compared to the last, which cites “Job-hopping, the creator economy, side hustles, and entrepreneurship” as some key drivers.

Despite their hunger for development, 76% of the workers surveyed said that they would stay at their companies longer if they have more learning opportunities. Instead of seeing a career as a vertical “ladder”, the report wants companies to employ a more “climbing wall or playground” approach where workers can expand in a wider range of directions.

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