Microsoft WTI 2022 report outlines key trends for biz leaders to make hybrid work ‘work’

While many leaders say their company is planning to require full-time in-person work, a majority of employees prefer the flexibility of remote and hybrid work, says Microsoft’s second annual Work Trend Index (WTI) report that outlines five urgent trends to help leaders navigate the uncertainty.

“To make hybrid work work, leaders need to empower managers to be the culture keepers, rethink the role of the office, rebuild social capital for a digital-first workforce, and create new practices for sustainable flexible work,” the new report recommends.

The new report titled “Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work” outlines findings from a study of 31,000 people in 31 countries, along with an analysis of trillions of productivity signals in Microsoft 365 and labor trends on LinkedIn.

Below are the urgent trends outlined in the study:

Employees have a new “worth it” equation

  • Two out of three employees in India are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work than before the pandemic. A staggering 41% of Indian employees (versus 18% global average) say they left their jobs during the past year.
  • 70% of Gen Z and Millennials in India are likely to consider changing employers in the year ahead, compared to the global average of 52%.

Managers feel wedged between leadership and employee expectations

  • Despite the undeniable desire for flexibility, 67% of leaders in India (versus 50% globally) say their company is planning a return to full-time in-person work within the next year.
  • While 62% of business leaders in India fear productivity has been negatively impacted since the shift to remote or hybrid work, 85% of workers say they are as productive or even more productive compared to a year ago.
  • 65% of managers in India say their company leadership is out of touch with employee expectations and 84% of people managers say they don’t have the influence or resources to drive change for their team.

Leaders need to make the office worth the commute

  • 45% of hybrid employees in India report knowing when and why to come into the office or work remotely as their biggest challenge.
  • 42% of business leaders in India (versus 28% globally) have created team agreements for hybrid work to define why and when to go to the office.

Flexible work doesn’t have to mean “always on”

  • Metaverse is coming to work: Nearly half of the employees in India are open to using digital immersive spaces in the metaverse for meetings or team activities in the next year.
  • Too many meetings: Weekly time spent in meetings for the average Teams user is up 252% since March 2020.

The Microsoft Work Trend Index 2022 report also highlights the need for managers to create new norms and set boundaries to guard against a 24/7 workday to make flexible work sustainable.

Rebuilding social capital looks different in a hybrid world

  • 32% of business leaders in India (versus 43% globally) report relationship-building as the greatest challenge of having employees work hybrid or remote.
  • While 73% of leaders are concerned that new employees aren’t getting enough support to be successful during hybrid or remote work, 71% of pandemic hires are considering changing employers in the next year, compared to 56% globally.

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