A new study found that Microsoft’s company-wide shift to remote work has damaged communication and collaboration between different business teams within the company, threatening employee productivity and long-term innovation.
This is one of the main findings of a peer-reviewed study of more than 61,000 Microsoft employees published by Microsoft researchers in a journal on Thursday morning Natural human behavior. It coincides with Microsoft’s announcement that employees will not return to the office on October 4th as previously expected.
But researchers also call it a warning sign for other companies.
They wrote in the accompanying blog post: “If there is no intervention, the impact we find may affect employees’ ability to access and share new information across groups, thereby affecting productivity and innovation.” “Given these findings, companies should Consider whether and how to choose to adopt a long-term work-from-home policy.”
Companies including Coinbase, Box, Shopify, Dropbox and others have all announced plans to give employees “remote first”.
Microsoft’s research shows that remote work has also changed the way employees communicate, causing them to rely on asynchronous communications, such as email and instant messaging, more frequently than before, and less frequently on synchronous communications, such as audio and video calls.
Microsoft researchers wrote: “Based on previous research, we believe that the shift to less’rich’ communication media may make it more difficult for employees to convey and process complex information.”
The research is based on the analysis of anonymous data from Microsoft employees about emails, phone calls, meetings, and other work activities.
Part of it A wave of new research released on Thursday morning From Microsoft and LinkedIn on the status of work in the pandemic. This is because the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused many companies to postpone their plans to return to the office.
A separate study evaluated the emotions of Microsoft employees based on internal surveys:
- According to the company, Microsoft employees report that their feelings of tolerance and support for managers have reached an all-time high. The company said that, on average, the survey also showed that Microsoft employees are as efficient as before.
- Many employees have the common goal of finding work-life balance, time for focus, and time for collaboration. However, based on personal circumstances, some people believe that working from home is the best way to achieve these goals, while others believe that entering the office is the ideal solution.
Microsoft said the survey results show the importance of flexibility and communication between managers and employees in remote and mixed work environments. Employees want flexibility and connection with others at the same time. This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the “big paradox.”
The company also announced new features for Teams, LinkedIn and other products designed to solve some of the challenges of data disclosure. Examples include new AI-enabled cameras to track speakers in conference rooms, PowerPoint functionality that integrates Teams camera sources, and new roaming office features in Teams that help employees find open workspaces in the office.