The Future of Work

Managers, now more than ever, know people can be trusted to do their best work, even when no one is watching. Micromanaging is more than over.

As Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Jared Spataro recently said in his Microsoft Ignite 2020 presentation “The Future of Work”, the conversation has shifted from seeing productivity just in terms of output to whether people are working in sustainable ways that support their long-term mental health. “Productivity cannot be about short-term employee output, machines don’t create value, people do, and you can’t treat people like machines”.

Spataro also recognizes that “the sustainable productivity for people is not just about efficiency. People need cycles of performance and cycles of recovery.” In this same line Microsoft has been testing the efficiency of mental health strategies, such as meditation, in the long-term wellbeing, and thus productivity, of their employees.

The future of work means understanding that getting the best out of people means helping them balance the different areas of their life and taking their needs into account. It means using technology to make the best out of people’s ingenuity.

Microsoft latest research regarding Work From Home, has found that 6 months into the pandemic that there has been an increase in burnout, but the reasons for it differ from first line and remote workers. There is more communication but fewer boundaries, and not having a commute might be hurting, not helping, worker productivity. A useful tip could be to develop a routine (in the same way going back and forth to work was a set routine) to signal to the brain work time is about to start each morning and end each afternoon.

Research regarding work from home has also noted that this remote work might be hindering learning opportunities from new team members and junior employees that might be currently lacking informal spaces and easy of approach that the physical office provided. Managers could help their employees by creating virtual mentoring programs or other types of remote learning and opportunities to take interaction from a physical space to a digital one.

It seems clear the transformation of what work life and productivity means and how it’s lived will continue to evolve and change at lightning speed.

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