Bosses think workers do less from home says Microsoft

Guest blog from Business Advisor & Amplifier, Pippa Hutchinson

Bosses think workers do less from home says Microsoft

When you work from home, how does your productivity compare to working in the office?

Bosses think workers do less from home, says Microsoft.  A new survey of 20,000 workers across 11 countries by Microsoft highlights a marked difference in opinion to perceptions of productivity depending on whether you’re the boss or not.   

  • 80% of bosses surveyed felt that people were less productive from home. 
  • 87% of employees felt that they were at least the same, or more productive from home. 

Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft calls this disconnect ‘Productivity Paranoia’ and he says that it needs to be resolved because even though 100% remote working may have peaked, hybrid working is here to stay. 

According to the survey, managers say that they have less trust that their employees are doing their best work when they work from home. They also say that having less visibility of the work that is being done undermines that trust further. 

Three ways to start overcoming Productivity Paranoia 

What is clear is that mandating employees to be in the office at certain times is unlikely to work and will simply accelerate attrition. Elon Musk at Tesla has demanded 40 hours a week in the office sending an email saying:

“If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

This may backfire! 

What will help however, is leaders and managers collaborating with employees to create a new eco-system of hybrid work where everyone’s expectations can be met. Specifically, that requires everyone to: 

1. Align on Purpose, deliver clarity and get everybody rowing in the same direction


When employees feel that their work has purpose, their intrinsic motivation and sense of wellbeing at work is much greater. It gives them a focus and allows the team to align behind a common rallying cry. Creating so much clarity on how the day job delivers that purpose is vital too, especially when people are working remotely.  

People want to feel very connected to their work,” said LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, “They want to feel connected to the company, connected to their manager. They want to know that their work matters.” 

Seth Patton, a Microsoft 365 general manager, says  

What’s needed right now is not measuring hours of work. Instead, companies should be really focusing on the outcomes that they need to drive and provide clarity to employees that otherwise are just going to be doing a bunch of busy work.” 

2. Develop A Team Charter for hybrid working that the whole team buys into


Microsoft’s research has identified that the biggest opportunity for business leaders is to reimagine the role of the office and create clarity around why, when, and how often teams should gather in person. Nearly 40% of hybrid employees state that their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office. 

Microsoft say that 

 “Making the office work for all employees will take radical intentionality. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach: Experiment with “Team Tuesdays” or consider quarterly offsites that bring far-flung teammates together regularly. The key is for managers to provide clear guidance to employees as they experiment and learn what works for the team.” 

3. Embrace the fact that people come to the office for each other 


According to the survey, people’s primary motivation for going into the office is to see their teammates in real life! 

Microsoft report that three quarters of employees say they need a better reason to go in than just to meet company expectations. The vast majority said they would be motivated by the promise of socialising with co-workers, and the noise of the office is the one thing, at least occasionally, that they don’t have at home.  

Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work says,  

“Embrace the fact that people actually come in for each other” 

Accept the change

Building and maintaining an engaged workforce has never been more important. Organisations must accept today’s way of working by developing a culture based on trust. 

As Satya Nadella says in the article, 

“We had 70,000 people who joined Microsoft during the pandemic, they sort of saw Microsoft through the lens of the pandemic. And now when we think about the next phase, you need to re-energize them, re-recruit them, help them form social connections.” 

People invest so much of their time at work they should enjoy it – they should feel valued and that their work has purpose. Our approach holds the key to stopping attrition in its tracks, recruiting the best people, and executing at speed!   

Unleash the power of team experience

At the Amplified Group, we are focused on helping tech organisations to be more productive than ever in a hybrid world. We have developed a highly effective toolkit of teambuilding programmes to help keep everyone together when they are working apart. We combine this with practical advice for everyday communication and ways of working. 

Our approach to creating high performing teams is clear and simple. We call it our ‘Operating System For Teams’ and when the system is embedded it delivers an unstoppable momentum of growth – unleashing the power of Team Experience, which we call TeamX™. 

Discover more 

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