Over the past two years, the average workday span has increased by 13%, or 46 minutes, as people continue to log in earlier and log out later than before the pandemic – and this trend does not seem to have changed.
This is one of the results of a new Microsoft study that combines a survey of more than 31000 employees around the world with anonymous data from Microsoft Office 365 usage, such as outlook calendar.
On Wednesday morning, Microsoft released the 2022 work trend index research report, as well as the new features of the Microsoft team and the new surface hub 2 smart camera.
Many features are designed to support mixed meetings, such as a new option in outlook to indicate virtual or personal presence when accepting meeting invitations. Microsoft, which competes with competitors such as zoom and slack, hopes that with another shift in work trends, the growth of the team will exceed the existing 270 million users per month.
However, even if some people return to the office within a period of a week, some habits that began with the pandemic still exist. For example, after work, weekend work and per capita meetings continue to increase.
These figures show the other side of the flexibility that has emerged in teleworking over the past two years.
Jared Spataro, vice president of Microsoft, summarized the findings at a briefing with reporters this week. “We think this is an unsustainable upward trend,” he said. In a blog post on Wednesday morning, Spataro wrote, “managers need to develop new norms and set boundaries to prevent 24 / 7 working days.”
At the same time, Microsoft said that flexible work is creating some positive trends for work life balance. Here are some other findings from the analysis of anonymous Microsoft 365 usage data:
From March 2021 to February 2022, the number of overlapping meetings decreased by 44%.
The meeting started late Monday and ended early Friday, with fewer meetings at noon.
The office building area on the calendar has increased by 10%, indicating that more employees are taking advantage of holidays.
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. is still the most common meeting time, but 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. is becoming more and more popular.
One suggestion from Microsoft is that managers should do more to adapt to asynchronous work and make sure that people don’t need to speak or communicate on the spot. For example, recording a meeting for subsequent playback allows participants to catch up when their schedule allows.
“Because everyone works at different times and places, it’s important to transfer as much work as possible to achieve asynchrony and really consciously use your synchronous time together,” said Jaime Teevan, chief scientist of Microsoft, summarizing the research results.
Another trend is the increase in temporary calls, which Microsoft says is becoming the digital equivalent of corridor conversations. Data show that at present, meetings with less than 15 minutes account for the majority of all meetings (60%).
Although the study focused on employees from different companies around the world, Microsoft employees are part of the trend of mixed work. Microsoft has fully reopened its Redmond headquarters since February 28, giving employees 30 days to arrange to return to the office.
Microsoft said it expected that part-time work at home (less than 50%) would become the standard for most employees, and the difference between different teams depended on the arrangement between employees and managers.