Working hard or hardly working? ‘Productivity paranoia’ causes leaders to doubt employees output, MS survey finds
A global study from Microsoft has found that while leaders are doubful of employees’ productivity while working from home, employees do not feel the same way.
The US tech giant’s survey comprised 20,000 people in 11 countries including the US, UK, India and China.
The findings suggest that 85% of employers struggle to trust that employees are productive while working from home, yet the majority of these workers (87%) report that since the introduction of hybrid working they are more productive.
Based on this data, Microsoft has since conducted an analysis which comes down on the side of the employee – by taking trillions of data points which signal that productivity has actually improved post-pandemic.
The analysis showed that meetings per week had increased by 153% globally and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. This figure could even stand as the “new baseline”, according to the report.
The miscommunication, in Microsoft’s eyes, seems to stem from the traditional visual cues of what it means to be productive and has resulted in what the tech giant terms as “productivity paranoia” among employees.
The report noted that this was “…because they can’t “see” who is hard at work by walking down the hall or past the conference room. Indeed, compared to in-person managers, hybrid managers are more likely to say they struggle to trust their employees to do their best work.”
While some leaders are using tracking activity and metrics to measure productivity from a hybrid working environment, Microsoft found that the disadvantage of such apps was that workers felt as though they were being spied on without due cause.
Elsewhere, the survey revealed 48% of employees and 53% of managers were already burned out at work which meant that “prioritisation must go beyond simply reordering an overflowing to-do list”, according to Microsoft.
“Thriving employees are what will give organisations a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic economic environment,” said to Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft.
“Leaders may need to revisit the drawing board and create a new “employee experience” that satisfies the needs of today’s “digitally connected, distributed workforce”, the report concluded.
TechInformed recently deep-dived into the topic of remote working in our special report titled Women in Work, which looked at whether working from home put women tech workers at a disadvantage.
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