Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index compiles input from 31,000 people in 31 countries, labor trends from LinkedIn, and trillions of productivity signals from Microsoft 365 to provide a closer look at the year ahead, highlight what employees truly want, and help leaders visualize a path forward. The previous two years changed employees’ expectations and the way they work. Leaders must adopt a new mindset and modify cultural norms for long-term success. The author, Jared Spataro, outlines five key trends that will assist leaders in empowering their teams to succeed in the coming year.
Employees’ work and personal priorities vary: In terms of employment, workers are redefining what they want and what they can deliver. Before the pandemic, 47% of workers prioritised family. And 53% are more likely to emphasise health and well-being, increasing to 55% for parents and 56% for women.
52% of Gen Z and Millennials are considering changing jobs this year (up 3% year-over-year). 18% of respondents quit their job in the previous 12 months, citing well-being, mental health, and work-life balance as key reasons. When asked what they desired from a new company, they said a positive culture. Adapting to new expectations may also boost organisations’ bottom lines. This enables companies to attract new talent and empower existing employees.
Managers are stuck between leadership and employee needs: 50% of managers feel that their leadership is out of touch with employees. 80% believe their output has stayed the same or risen, compared to 54% of company executives who think it has fallen. Managers are in the best position to see and understand both sides of the issue but need to be empowered to act. The gap between managers and their teams must be addressed.
Leaders need to make the office worth the commute: 51% of hybrid workers are considering complete remote work. Despite the fact that 44% of hybrid employees and 43% of remote participants don’t feel included in meetings, just 27% of firms have defined hybrid meeting etiquette. Leaders must be intentional about the who, where, and why of in-person meetings and define new etiquette that includes everyone.
Flexible work doesn’t have to mean “always on.” : After-hours and weekend work have increased 28%, while meeting time has increased 252%. There are signs that employees are reshaping their workdays. Teams must define new norms, so one person’s flexibility doesn’t become another’s “always on”
Rebuilding social capital looks different in a hybrid world: Over half of hybrid employees can retain excellent ties with their direct colleagues, while only half of the entire remote employees can claim the same. Newly onboarded employees will require additional assistance.
Organizations can’t merely recover social capital by returning to the workplace. By setting time and space for relationship building and motivating teams (particularly remote and new workers), employees may make up lost ground. A readiness to adapt and accept new ways of thinking and working will provide strong firms with a competitive advantage.
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