After more than a year of experiments with hybrid work, many companies are now facing a long-awaited breaking point: future-proof hybrid work. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2022 outlines five pressing trends in the Dutch workplace and offers organizations and managers tools on their way to truly make hybrid work work. The index is an annual survey of how people work and the needs of the Dutch workplace.
“We need to recognize that today’s business can only succeed by giving employees the opportunity to choose where, when and how they work, in harmony with their personality and lifestyle,” said Shanna Bosmans, Chief Hybrid Officer (CHO). ) at Microsoft Holland. Her position was created to further stimulate the transformation of Microsoft’s hybrid way of working in the Netherlands.
Hybrid works the future
According to Bosmans, hybrid work is the future, but it is a challenge for any organization to initiate the cultural change that is necessary to be able to put the individual first. “Clear expectations and agreements are needed where management is transparent and supports managers, to avoid falling back into old work habits that do not help the individual in the new future of work.”
Microsoft briefly outlines the five trends in a press release:
1. People view their work-life balance differently
The pandemic has changed the way we define and see work as part of our lives. Two years later, Dutch people are looking at their own work-life balance differently due to the growing need to be online all the time.
40 percent of respondents say they prioritize health and well-being more now than before the pandemic. People are even willing to switch to a better work-life balance. 57 percent of Millennials and Gen Z say they are likely, somewhat or very determined to change employer this year, compared to 40 percent of the rest of society.
Leaders should be empowered to create team standards that facilitate hybrid work
Dutch organizations still face challenges in making hybrid work really work, and here leaders are the direct object. 65 percent of leaders in the Netherlands wish they could do more to create change for their team, but they do not have the influence or the resources.
Furthermore, 56 percent of managers indicate that management is out of contact with the workplace. This is confirmed by the fact that 81 percent of employees say they are just as productive or even more productive compared to a year ago, according to Microsoft. This while 61 percent of management fears that productivity has declined since the introduction of hybrid work.
Management must be clearer in creating expectations
23 percent of the management of Dutch companies have made clear agreements with their employees about why and when they should come to the office. This leaves employees in doubt: 34 percent of them say it is their biggest challenge right now to know when to work in the office or externally.
4. Employees are open to new ways of meeting
In addition to the trend that the weekly meeting time for Teams users worldwide increased by 252 percent, the working days became 46 minutes longer. In addition, work increased after working hours (28%) and weekends (14%). 47 percent are open to using digital spaces in the meta-verse for meetings or team gatherings, and 39 percent are willing to attend those meetings as an avatar in the coming year.
5. The rebuilding of social networks / relationships looks different in a hybrid world
62 percent of Dutch employees say they have fewer workmates since switching to hybrid work. Maybe that’s why 39 percent of employees currently working hybrid want to work completely remotely within a year. In fact, 59 percent of the people who started working during the pandemic say they are considering changing employers in the coming year.
It is difficult for employers to create cohesion in the workplace. This challenge is confirmed by 43 percent of the management of Dutch organizations, who say that building relationships is the biggest challenge in hybrid or teleworking. In fact, 68 percent say they are concerned that employees are not getting enough support to be able to work successfully, both hybrid and remote.