Productivity paranoia makes hybrid working unsustainable, Microsoft report says

Productivity paranoia makes hybrid working unsustainable, Microsoft report says

Amid the debate over moonlighting by tech workers working from home after more than two years of the pandemic, a Microsoft report found that 85 percent of business leaders say the move to hybrid work has made it difficult to trust that employees are productive.

As some organizations use technology to track activity rather than impact, employees lack context on how and why they are being tracked, which can undermine trust and lead to “productivity theater”.

“This has led to productivity paranoia: where leaders fear that lost productivity is due to unprofessional employees. workeven though hours worked, number of meetings and other activity metrics have increased,” according to Microsoft’s “Work Trend Index Pulse” report.

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Many leaders and managers miss the old visual cues of what it means to be productive because they can’t “see” who is working hard.

Indeed, compared to in-person managers, hybrid managers are more likely to say they find it difficult to trust their employees to do their best (49% vs. 36%) and say they have less visibility into the work of their employees. (54% versus 38%).

“And as employees feel the pressure to ‘prove’ they work, digital submergence is skyrocketing,” the results showed.

Nearly 48% of employees and 53% of managers say they are already exhausted at work.

According to the report, leaders need to stop worrying about whether their employees are working hard enough to help them focus on the work that matters most.

Nearly 81% of employees say it’s important for their managers to help them prioritize their workload, but less than a third (31%) say their managers have ever given clear guidance in one-on-one interviews.

“Troubleshooting this problem must start at the top: 74% of people leaders say more guidance on prioritizing their own work would help their performance, and 80% say they would personally benefit from greater clarity of senior management’s share of priorities that have an impact,” the report said.


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