Microsoft discovers that 50% of bosses want to end telework

According to Microsoft’s second annual Work Trends Index report, half of world leaders expect a full-scale return to the office in the near future, despite employees’ growing desire to work flexibly.

The survey, which compiles feedback from 31,000 people in 31 countries and also takes into account data from Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn users, finds that as hybrid working becomes mainstream, growing numbers of workers prioritize their well-being.

As employee/employer power dynamics continue to shift, these findings suggest that if business leaders do not quickly adopt flexible solutions, they risk losing their best talent.

Half of leaders plan a full return to the office

After two years of Disruption induced by COVID-19, hybrid working finally seems to be the new normal for many. But before workers get used to switching between home and office, a new Microsoft survey suggests that many employers have other plans.

The Trend Index Report, published on Wednesday, concluded that 50% of business leaders are already demanding, or will soon demand, that their employees return to the office full-time by the end of this year. The percentage was even higher in the manufacturing (55%), retail (54%) and consumer goods (53%) sectors.

43% of leaders say building relationships is the biggest challenge in remote and hybrid working

While the motivations behind these numbers vary, more than half of leaders believe productivity levels have been impacted by remoteness from the office, while 43% cited building relationships as the biggest issue associated with work. hybrid and remote.

While employers stress the importance of physical presence, managers seem less certain, with 54% admitting their current leadership is out of touch with employee expectations. However, with three-quarters of them feeling like they lack the influence to implement meaningful changes in their team, their concerns are unlikely to be enough to swing the pendulum.

Workers seek a healthier work-life balance

The past year has exposed countless employees to the concept of flexible working, from adjusting office hours to working remotely.

As these practices grow in popularity, people’s attitudes towards their professional lives are changing, with Microsoft’s report revealing that 47% of respondents now put their home and personal lives ahead of their work.

But the priorities don’t end with employees’ families, with the survey also revealing that 53% of respondents are now more likely to prioritize their own health and wellbeing at work.

“By not commuting, I have more time to spend with my family and more time for everyday things like cooking a meal and eating together.” – Employee working in professional services, United States

If you run a business or manage teams, these results shouldn’t surprise you. The survey results indicate a growing preference for flexible working, which has been increasing for years. And with even higher favor rates among millennials and Gen Z, it doesn’t look like traditional practices will return to the workplace anytime soon.

Employers should take return-to-work concerns seriously

It’s undeniable that most business leaders have valid reasons for wanting employees to return to the office. However, as the survey data suggests, the introduction of certain flexible measures is likely to benefit them as much as their workers.

The report found that 43% of workers are likely to leave their jobs in the next year, indicating that employees aren’t afraid to quit a job that doesn’t align with their priorities. Among the reasons for leaving, issues around personal mental health, work-life balance and lack of work flexibility were among the main motivating factors for staff.

These data suggest that the mass resignation is far from over and may have just entered a new phase. Therefore, at a time when labor shortages are commonplace and top talent is hard to find, business leaders should do everything possible to retain their quality staff.

If you’re worried about your staff becoming restless, here are some ways to get them back on board:

  • Listen to your staff – Communication with your staff should be two-way. By listening to your employees’ concerns and requests, you can create a workplace that is better suited to their needs and wants.
  • Check in regularly with your employees – No one likes to feel left on their own. Even if no issues were reported, reaching out to your team is a great way to get feedback and boost morale.
  • Use digital solutions – If your teams are working remotely, stay connected with communication tools like Slack and Google Chat. On a budget? Rest assured, there are also plenty of affordable and free ways to stay connected.

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