Microsoft research: 3 important observations about the hybrid work format


The company conducted a new study on the topic of hybrid work format: how employees combine office and remote and how managers evaluate the effectiveness of such an approach.

Today, there is a bit of a divide: employees have embraced the benefits of remote work and are in no rush to return full-time to the office, while employers are “missing” office life in 2019. And now the main task of the latter is to find a balance between the interests of employees and the success of the company.

Microsoft surveyed 20,000 people from 11 countries and analyzed a range of data from Microsoft 365, LinkedIn and Glint People Science and came up with three important points for managers to pay attention to now.

1. End “performance paranoia”

According to Microsoft, this spring the number of online meetings per week increased by 153% (since the beginning of the pandemic) for the average Microsoft Teams user. At the same time, the number of duplicated meetings, when a person needs to be at two at the same time, increased by 46%.

At the same time, 85% of managers believe that with the transition to remote work, employees began to work less efficiently. Many managers lack the usual visual cues for productive work because they can’t see the person in the office hallway or conference room. Employees, in turn, feel pressure and the need to constantly prove that they are really working, and this affects the general tension.

The ratio of effective work

How employees and managers evaluate productivity during the workday. Image:

Microsoft’s conclusion: managers should stop worrying about the amount of work of their employees and help them focus on really important tasks – set priorities. And be sure to get feedback.

2. People come back to offices to communicate and maintain social connections, not just because of company expectations

73% of employees reported that they need a more compelling reason to return to the office than company expectations. Communicating with colleagues is a key motivator in this regard, and 74% of those surveyed said they are more likely to go to the office if their friends are there. Remote work has also led to the fact that 43% of employees feel disconnected from the company and the team.

Microsoft notes that here managers should establish communication between employees and develop a corporate culture in a digital format.

3. People change companies because they want to develop their skills

55% of respondents said that the best way to develop their skills is to leave the company, and 76% of employees would be able to stay at their company longer if they saw opportunities for development. Moreover, this moment is due to the transformation of the skills required for a certain position: for example, since 2015, the top 10 skills for project managers and IT specialists have changed by 70%.

Number of respondents who agreed with the statement

Number of respondents who agreed with the statement “The best way for me to develop my skills is to change companies.” Image:

Accordingly, opportunities for learning within the organization and the availability of changing the type of activity or project are valued. Microsoft notes that the connection between training and retention is obvious, so managers should attract resources to develop new skills of their specialists and make internal mobility a key priority. Employees should view their career as a climbing wall or landing, not a ladder.

You can learn more about Microsoft’s research here.

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