Microsoft’s research claims that the work-from-home model threatens innovation and productivity.
The remote working model has now been adopted by many companies and employees due to the pandemic. Some companies are trying to start the return-to-office process, while others continue the work-from-home process. So, is the working from home model efficient for employees?
According to a study recently published by Microsoft, the answer to this is: no, it isn’t. The study, published in Microsoft’s journal Nature Human Behavior, includes 61,000 employees. In this research, the data of the working patterns from December 2019 to June 2020 were discussed.
The researchers concluded that the shift to company-wide remote work caused employees to communicate less with those in other departments and the collaborative network was weaker. Microsoft said that the time employees spend in collaboration with other groups has decreased by about 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, communication, including email, SMS or corporate chat, calendars and instant messages, has become much more timeless, meaning synchronized communication is greatly reduced.
While some say people do less work at home, research has shown that the average number of hours an employee works during the week is increasing. Naturally, the number of e-mails and messages sent and received has greatly increased. On the other hand, the number of hours spent in meetings decreased.
Microsoft believes that a hybrid work system will reduce rather than solve the problem of declining productivity. In summary, the researchers wrote: “In light of these findings, companies should be careful about whether and how they choose to adopt long-term work-from-home policies.”
In contrast, Microsoft employees said that executive support has always been at its highest and their productivity has not decreased compared to before. Microsoft was making plans to completely reopen its US offices. However, due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, these plans have been postponed indefinitely.