More than two years after remote work and hybrid jobs became widespread, there’s still a clear divide on how this is going: About 85% of managers worry they can’t tell if employees work enough. while 87% of workers say their productivity is just fine.
This was the finding of a survey on corporate attitudes by Microsoft Corp., the workplace software giant and owner of LinkedIn. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is raising fears of inactive workers about what he calls “productivity paranoia” with undesirable consequences like spying on employees.
“Leaders think their employees are not productive, while employees feel they are productive and in many cases feel burned out,” he said in a Bloomberg television interview. “One of the most important things for us in this new world of work and hybrid work is to bridge this contradiction.”
Microsoft is surveying global employees in various industries several times a year during the pandemic—the latest data surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries—aimed at tracking trends and tailoring its technology to meet customer needs. have to adjust.
Data has consistently shown a disconnect between managers and rank and file, and Microsoft is introducing tools like its Veeva employee experience software to bridge the gap. Viva is now PayPal Holdings Inc. And companies like Unilever plc have more than 10 million active monthly users, who use it to help teams align their goals and stay in touch.
But even though new communication tools are bringing owners into closer contact with employees, Microsoft wants executives to know that workplace monitoring isn’t the answer to increasing productivity.
“The debate about employee monitoring is growing, and we have a really strong stance—we think it’s wrong,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s vice president. “We don’t think employers should be monitoring and taking into account the activity of keystrokes and mouse clicks and those kinds of things, because in many ways, we feel like it’s measuring heat rather than outcome.”
Microsoft itself has had to adjust and dial in some features in its Workplace products because they enabled such behavior. In 2020, the company made changes to its Productivity Score feature, which privacy advocates complained made it too easy to spy on individual employees.
Other pandemic work trends, such as mass quitting, appear to be easing. For the first time in 18 months, LinkedIn and Microsoft have been slowing what they called the “great reshuffle” and others the “great resignation”. According to Ryan Roslansky, who runs the service, the year-over-year growth in people switching jobs on LinkedIn is now flat. And more job listings are for in-person roles.
Before the pandemic, 2% of jobs on LinkedIn were listed as remote, a number that rose to 20% by March 2022. He said that now it has come down to 15%.
Many senior corporate leaders are longing to return to the pre-pandemic days of in-person work, Spataro said. But Microsoft still recommends a flexible approach.
“People come to work for other people, not because of any policy,” Nadella said.