Great Expectations: Making "Hybrid Work" Work
March 23, 2022
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After sitting on the cusp of hybrid work for more than a year, many companies are at a long-awaited inflection point: the lived experience of hybrid work.

One thing from the research is clear: We are not the same people who went home to work in early 2020. The past two years have left a lasting imprint, fundamentally changing how people define the role of work in their lives. The challenge ahead for every organization is to meet employees' great new expectations head on while balancing business outcomes in an unpredictable economy.


To help leaders navigate the shift, the 2022 Work Trend Index outlines five urgent trends from an external study of 31,000 people in 31 countries along with an analysis of trillions of productivity signals in Microsoft 365 and labor trends on LinkedIn:

Employees have a new "worth it" equation

53% of employees say they're more likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work than they were before the pandemic.

And the Great Reshuffle isn't over: 52% of Generation Z and millennials are likely to consider changing employers in the year ahead, up 3% year over year.

Managers feel wedged between leadership and employee

50% of leaders say their companies are planning a return to full-time in-person work in the year ahead.

54% of managers say leadership at their companies is out of touch with employee expectations, and 74% of managers say they don't have the influence or resources to drive change for their teams.

Leaders need to make the office worth the commute

38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office, yet only 28% of leaders have created team agreements to define these new norms.

Flexible work doesn't have to mean "always on"

After two years, weekly meeting time for the average Teams user is up 252%, and chats sent per person each week is up 32% — and still climbing. While workday span has increased by 46 minutes, after-hours and weekend work are up 28% and 14%, respectively.

Rebuilding social capital looks different in a hybrid world

With 51% of hybrid workers considering a shift to full remote work in the year ahead, companies cannot rely solely on the office to recoup the social capital we've lost over the past two years. 43% of leaders say relationship-building is the greatest challenge of having employees work in a hybrid or remote environment.

"There's no erasing the lived experience and lasting impact of the past two years, as flexibility and well-being have become non-negotiables for employees," said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, Modern Work, Microsoft. "By embracing and adapting to these new expectations, organizations can set their people and their business up for long-term success."

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