A majority of Indian employees – 74 percent – want more flexible remote work options, while 73 percent crave more in-person time with their teams, according to Microsoft India’s first annual Work Trend Index.
Extreme flexibility and hybrid work will define the post-pandemic workplace, said Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India.
“We believe hybrid work is the future, and a successful hybrid strategy will require extreme flexibility. As every organisation fundamentally reimagines itself for the hybrid work era, we are collectively learning and innovating on how we will shape the future of work in India”Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India
But the move to hybrid will need to ensure employees are given the flexibility to work when and where they want, as well as the tools they need to equally contribute from wherever they happen to be.
Employees Feel Overworked
The findings also suggest more than 57 percent of Indian employees feel overworked and 32 percent feel exhausted. Sixty-two percent of the Indian workforce says their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this and 13 percent say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance.
Self-assessed productivity has remained the same or higher for many employees over the past year, but at a human cost.
The digital intensity of workers’ days has increased substantially in the last year.
The time spent in Microsoft Teams meetings has more than doubled (2.5X) globally, 62 percent of Teams calls and meetings are unscheduled or conducted ad hoc and the average Teams meeting is 10 minutes longer, up from 35 to 45 minutes year-over-year.
The average Teams user is sending 45 percent more chats per week and 42 percent more chats per person after hours. And despite meeting and chat overload, 50 percent of people respond to Teams chats within five minutes or less.
Work Has Become More Human and Authentic
Co-workers leaned on each other in new ways to get through the last year, the study says.
One among four Indian employees has cried with a colleague and 35 percent people are less likely to feel embarrassed now when their home lives show up at work.
As living rooms made way for work meetings, 37 percent people got to meet their co-workers’ families.
People who interacted with their co-workers more closely than before experienced stronger work relationships, reported higher productivity and better overall well-being.
The genuine interactions with co-workers are helping to foster a workplace where 63 percent of Indian workers said they are more likely to be their full, authentic selves at work.
Gen Z is Struggling More
India’s first generation of digital natives, or Gen Z, appears to be suffering more, the data reveals.
Nearly 71 percent of this generation – those between the ages of 18 and 25 – say they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling. The study reported that they were more likely to struggle balancing work with life and to feel exhausted after a typical day of work when compared to older generations.
Gen Z also reported more difficulty feeling engaged or excited about work, getting a word in during meetings, and bringing new ideas to the table when compared to other generations.
Future of Work is Hybrid
Microsoft explains how to reimagine people, places and processes for a hybrid world:
- People: Every organisation needs a plan and policies that put us on the path to extreme flexibility and help us build digital empathy into every aspect of our culture – from global guidelines to team-level meeting norms that help everyone feel included and engaged.
- Places: Relying solely on shared physical location to collaborate, connect, or build social capital is no longer viable. But spaces and places are still important and reimagining them starts with prioritising employee safety and maintaining consistent person, reference, and task spaces for all employees, whether they are on-site or remote.
- Processes: The shift to hybrid work presents a rare opportunity to transform key business processes in bold new ways. Cloud readiness, digitisation of business processes, and a Zero Trust security architecture will be key enablers in adapting to the new hybrid reality.
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