Work from home: Trends businesses should know


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Time is now for business leaders to brace up and understand new trends as the world sets to enter a new era of work. Microsoft in a recent report reveals seven hybrid work trends every business leader needs to know.

These include flexible work is here to stay; leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call; high productivity is masking an exhausted workforce; Gen Z (referring to the generation that succeeds the millennials) is at risk and will need to be re-energised; shrinking networks are endangering innovation; authenticity will spur productivity and wellbeing, and talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world.

The report advises that business leaders should resist the urge to see hybrid work as business as usual as it will require the rethinking of long-held assumptions.

“The choices you make today will impact your organisation for years to come. It’s a moment that requires clear vision and a growth mindset,” Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, says.

Spataro explains that “these decisions will impact everything from how you shape culture, to how you attract and retain talent, to how you can better foster collaboration and innovation.”

The findings from the report titled ‘The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work: Are We Ready?’ suggest that this last year has fundamentally changed the nature of work.

Among other things, collaboration trends in Microsoft Teams and Outlook suggest their networks have contracted but hybrid work will revive them. Time spent in meetings has more than doubled globally and over 40 billion more emails were delivered in the month of February of this year compared to last.

Work has become more human. Nearly 40 percent say they feel more comfortable bringing their full selves to work than before the pandemic and one in six have cried with a colleague this year.

The findings also show that the world is on the cusp of a workplace disruption as 73 percent of workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue. Remote job postings on LinkedIn increased more than five times during the pandemic; while over 40 percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year and 46 percent are planning to move now that they can work remotely.

In short, addressing flexible work will impact who stays, who goes, and who joins a company.

To help organisations through the transition, the 2021 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries and analyses trillions of aggregate productivity and labour signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn.

In addition to uncovering what’s at stake with the future of work, the Work Trend Index identifies five strategies for business leaders as they begin to make the necessary shift:

These are creating a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility; investing in space and technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds; combating digital exhaustion from the top; prioritising rebuilding social capital and culture and rethinking employee experience to compete for the best and most diverse talent.

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