Prior to 2020, working in the office five days a week was normal. Now that most of us have worked from home for over a year and a half, that workplace structure seems outdated. Workers are calling for the work-from-home movement to stay. So why did we not implement a hybrid work structure sooner? This age-old managerial question comes to mind: do employees work as hard at home as they do in the office?
In the traditional workplace, employees worked from the office so that managers could ensure work was being done, so that employees could easily collaborate, and to create a team working environment. Without the technology that we have today for communication and collaboration, working in the office was a necessity.
Now, we have technology like Microsoft Teams to help us communicate and collaborate while working remotely. Working from home is not only possible but, in some instances, it has become a necessity. In the Modern Workplace, can we be sure employees are just as productive at home as they are in the office?
What are employees spending their time on while working from home?
When working from home, employees spend less time navigating internal dealings and more time with their customers. According to the Harvard Business Review, people spent 12% less time meeting with colleagues and 9% more time with customers and partners during the lockdown in 2020 (compared to 2013). This suggests that people have the ability to better prioritize their work while working from home.
Are employees putting in as much effort at home as they do in the office?
The short answer is yes – people are working just as hard at home as they do in the office. According to Stats Canada, 90% of workers surveyed reported being accomplishing the same amount of work per hour as they did in the office. The same survey showed that around one-third of respondents reported accomplished more per hour while working from home.
Additionally, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index reports that overall Teams usage has increased by 148% since February 2020 and a 40.6B increase in emails delivered YOY.
Aside from the amount of work per hour, people are also working longer hours from home. Without the need to commute, employees have more time to work longer hours. 48% of people surveyed by Stats Canada said that they work longer hours than they did previously. And to further the discussion – Microsoft says that after-hours Teams usage increased by 42% YOY.
What prevents employees from doing their best work from home?
Over the past year and a half, people missed human connection with colleagues. Although online collaboration is very much possible, employees missed in-person socialization and water cooler chats. According to a Microsoft study, 60% of people feel less connected to their co-workers while working from home.
When people feel less connected to their teams, they may not be doing their best work. One work-from-home study showed that the pandemic exposed employees to higher levels of social isolation, loneliness, and stress. It also showed a decline in job productivity. Researchers argued that there was a negative association between work-from-home isolation and work-stress levels.
How can we support employees who work from home?
The same work-from-home study also showed that the use of technology to enhance remote communication can partially mitigate feelings of loneliness. The ability to video chat co-workers, have online “water cooler” chats, and chat integration with the work calendar are things that help remote employees with communication.
At the end of the day, most of your employees just want to feel included and heard. With Microsoft Teams and its Managed Teams Rooms, you and your employees can meet as if you were all together in the office, even if some people are working remotely.
Hybrid Work is Here to Stay
As we near the end of 2021 and have worked from home for over a year and a half, workers are calling for a work-from-home movement. According to a Microsoft study, “over 70 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.”
Maybe the question should no longer be “do employees work as hard at home as they do in the office?” and should change to “how can I best support my remote employees?”
To learn more about Microsoft Teams and Managed Teams Rooms, contact the experts at Microserve. With over 30 years in the industry, we’ve supported all kinds of work environments and technological changes.