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DateTuesday, March 30, 2021

Exodus of Workers May Seek New Jobs

Microsoft Report Shows Hybrid Remote Working is Here to Stay. Employers Must Be Mindful of Employees Right to Disconnect

Microsoft's Aisling Curtis warns senior leaders to be careful, as we move towards a new hybrid world of work, that they establish a culture that allows all their employees to continue to innovate and collaborate, while also providing the flexibility to disconnect when and where they need to.

With employees having now firmly adapted to working-from-home, organisations who fail to accommodate remote or hybrid working after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, are likely to lose employees to their competitors who are offering flexible working practices and tools. That's according to the latest research conducted by Microsoft who say the new world of working is here to stay.


Microsoft’s annual 'Work Trends Index', that looks at over 30,000 people in 31 countries, showed that almost three quarters of employees want flexible working options to continue, with over 40% of them considering leaving their employer this year if remote working options are not provided, and 46% saying they are planning to move jobs anyway within the year now that they can work remotely.


Locally, research across a sample of 1,032 adults nationwide (641 workers, of which 378 are current remote workers) conducted in February 2021 by Behaviours and Attitudes on behalf of Microsoft Ireland, showed a mass adoption of collaboration platforms becoming a default choice when communicating with colleagues; 84% of respondents saying they have migrated to collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, in the past year. 


The research found that over half of remote workers (56%) agreed that they are making less landline calls now due to the use of collaboration platforms. When asked why, those surveyed said they see collaboration platforms as the natural choice to connect to colleagues since the pandemic started. In fact, 63% agree that they collaborate more now on work documents using these tools.



When it came to mobile calls, 44% reported making fewer mobile calls in favour of their collaboration platforms. When asked about benefits of these collaboration platforms, half of those surveyed (49%) reported that using collaboration platforms helped them to create a broader work circle. Since transitioning to these tools, over two-thirds of, or one in six remote workers (66%), now feel that they are using these platforms to their fullest.


The biggest change is using these platforms for conference calls, as over 76% state that they use these platforms more, since the move to remote working, for those hosting internal conference calls. Also, those surveyed reported a clear increase in usage of these platforms for internal calls with colleagues and internal calls with other offices.


Interestingly, remote workers are also starting to use collaboration platforms for calls with suppliers. Over a quarter (27%) use collaboration platforms to contact suppliers, while 34% use them for contacting their customers respectively, compared to before working from home.


Similar Microsoft Ireland research that was conducted in October 2020 showed that organisations that created a healthy digital culture (i.e. Which protected employee’s focus and empowered them to make decisions as best suited them) saw major benefits, with 92% of employees reporting seamless collaboration with colleagues when working remotely. Furthermore 94% reported being able to focus solely on their task when supported by a strong digital culture.


But employers need to be aware that while remote working has benefits, many employees saw the need to disconnect and better manage their work life balance as important. Microsoft themselves say there has been a 48% increase in Microsoft Teams chats per person overall and a 55% increase in the number of meetings and calls per week. Chats between 5pm and midnight have also increased.


When asked what their priorities were:

Over 82% of respondents wanted a better work-life balance

Over three quarters (76%) wanted to disconnect once the working day was over

During the working day, 73% of those surveyed wanted to better manage daily distractions

65% wanted to reduce the number of meetings they had to virtually attend every day


This is not just confined to Ireland, similarly globally, the Work Trends Index identified that over half (54%) of workers feel overworked with over a third (39%) feel exhausted as 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 this time last year.


Aisling Curtis, Commercial Director Microsoft Ireland, (pictured) said; “While late last year we discovered that 97% of Irish employees cited the importance of becoming more innovative and flexible, our latest research shows that remote workers see collaboration tools and platforms, like Microsoft Teams, as the best way to connect, talk and collaborate. In a hybrid workplace, traditional tools are being replaced in favour of real-time collaboration and communications that enable productivity.”

However Curtis warned; “Senior leaders need to be careful, as we move towards a new hybrid world of work, that they establish a culture that allows all their employees to continue to innovate and collaborate, while also providing the flexibility to disconnect when and where they need to.”




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