What Facilities Managers Can Learn from the Microsoft Hybrid Work Report
05 October 2022
Microsoft’s global survey of hybrid working habits has revealed several insights into the way employees view their workplaces and what motivates them to work in the office.
As facilities managers, commercial property investors and business owners attempt to establish exactly what it is that drives hybrid working behaviour, customer data can prove useful in ascertaining which features in an office are the dealbreakers for staff.
The report, “Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong?” Is the result of a survey of 20,000 people in 11 countries, where trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals were analysed.
The results point to some interesting insights on desired working habits, and how buildings can be configured to facilitate this.
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People Want More Social Spaces at Work
A blanket mandate for employees to attend the office no longer works for companies wanting to attract the best talent – three per cent of employees surveyed say they need a better reason to go into the office besides company expectations.
One key motivator indicated in Microsoft’s research is the idea of social capital. In other words, bringing people together to enjoy exactly what was missing during the two years of national lockdowns. Roughly half of the respondents say their relationships outside their immediate work group have weakened post-pandemic, and that they feel disconnected from their culture.
84 per cent of employees said they would be motivated by the promise of socialising with co-workers, while 85 per cent would be motivated by rebuilding team bonds. Employees also report that they would go to the office more frequently if they knew their direct team members would be there (73 per cent) or if their work friends were there (74 per ceny).
This means that a workspace that features social spaces that promote conversation, collaboration and expression is more likely to seem like an attractive place to work. This is particularly true for Gen Z and Millennials. The data shows that younger people want to use the office to establish themselves as part of their workplace community and feel more connected to their co-workers. 78 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials want to connect with senior leadership versus 7 per cent of Gen X and older.
Learning and Development Spaces are Important
55 per cent of employees say the best way to develop their skills is to change companies, indicating an attitude that, if they cannot develop within an organisation, they will simply look elsewhere.
However, workers also say they would stay longer at their company if they could benefit more from learning and development support. 76 per cent of employees say they’d stay at their company longer if this was an option. So, learning and improvement has to be a core and visible part of the working environment and FMs need to provide spaces that support professional development and training.
Technology Will Support a Return to the Office
Employers also need to think about providing working environments where there is not only a community atmosphere but where people feel connected to the company culture wherever they work, as hybrid working looks set to stay. It’s not just about the physical office space, but digital communities too.
Communication is crucial to keeping everyone engaged and informed: according to nearly all business decision makers (96 per cent) and employees (95 per cent), effective communication is among the most critical skills they’ll need in 2023.
With these statistics in mind, FM, AV and IT teams should consider that workspaces are set up for employees to engage with their remote-working colleagues with the right technology solutions – and that this is promoted to the workforce as a key benefit of visiting the office.
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