It’s been over six months since lockdown orders around the world changed work forever. Researchers At Microsoft, are studying this new world of work closely, in order to stay ahead of the challenges and create technology that meets customers’ evolving needs.
One big question that has emerged: as leaders go from worrying about whether or not people will be “productive” to worrying about if people are working in sustainable ways. And how can they help customers prioritize wellbeing for all their people?
Study shows how the pandemic has impacted wellbeing at work globally. Productivity patterns in Microsoft Teams have shifted since early this year when surveyed over 6,000 information and Firstline workers in eight countries including Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US. The report also includes studies from the Microsoft Research group that shed light on the surprising productivity benefits of our once-dreaded commute.
Key Findings of the study-
- The pandemic increased burnout at work –
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed at work lately, you are not alone. Over 30% of Firstline and information workers in our study said the pandemic has increased their feelings of burnout at work
- Causes of workplace stress differ for Firstline and remote workers.
Globally firstline workers were worried about getting COVID-19, followed by lack of separation between work and life, feeling disconnected from co-workers, and unmanageable workload or hours. 30% of workers have not been provided with the tech or protective equipment they need to effectively socially distance by their company.
- Six months in there are more communications and fewer boundaries.Reports from Teams insights show even six 1months past the first work-from-home orders, people are in significantly more meetings, taking more ad-hoc calls and managing more incoming chats than they did before the pandemic. After-hours chats, or chats between 5 pm and midnight, have also increased.
- No commute may be hurting, not helping, remote work productivity.
One-third of remote workers said the lack of separation between work and life is negatively impacting their wellbeing.
“Commutes provide blocks of uninterrupted time for mentally transitioning to and from work, an important aspect of wellbeing and productivity. People will say, ‘I’m happy I don’t have to commute anymore. I’m saving time.’ But without a routine for ramping up for work and then winding down, we’re emotionally exhausted at the end of the day.”
– Shamsi Iqbal, principal researcher, Microsoft Research
- Studies show meditation can fight burnout and stress during the workday.
7 in 10 people (70%) said meditation could help decrease their work-related stress. This number increased to 83% for those managing childcare or homeschooling. Teams is incorporating features that remind users to take a break before an important meeting or project.
As researchers continue to learn more about wellbeing at work, users will see related innovation continue to show up across Microsoft 365 and Teams.