One of the biggest losses with remote work is those human connections at the beginning of meetings, coffee breaks, and having lunch together.
According to a recent study by Microsoft, Work Trend Index, the pandemic has increased burnout at work. In India, 16 percent of the frontline and information workers said that the pandemic has increased their feelings of burnout at work. In fact, the study found that India has the longest workday span as compared to the other counties surveyed including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Singapore.
For many digital-native businesses, these WFH mandates had little impact on employee productivity or daily work routine because they had the infrastructure, tools, and culture to support this big change. In contrast, the pandemic forced more traditional organizations whose employees primarily worked in the office to quickly ensure their workforce was equipped to work remotely (e.g., purchase laptops and address connectivity issues).
In this podcast by People Matters and Microsoft, listen to Shalu Manan who is an HR Transformation Strategist, a Change Influencer, and VP-Digital Transformation at Genpact, Ashish Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Modern Workplace, Microsoft in conversation with Yasmin Taj, Managing Editor, People Matters on how to ensure the productivity and wellbeing of employees in a hybrid workplace with the right technology solutions.
Here are the excerpts from the podcast:
Is Hybrid here to stay?
Shalu shares, “Hybrid workplace as a practice is here to stay. The sooner the people accept it, transform their operations, and ways of working, the more and sooner they will be relevant for future endeavors.”
Sharing the best practice of Genpact, Shalu commented that Genpact Hybrid as a concept was being practiced for more than a decade now and today the company is already riding the curve and finding sweet spots of how we leverage new ways of working for business success.
Leading, managing, and collaborating in a virtual environment
During the conversation, Ashish shares some of the innovations Microsoft is doing to enable more connection, collaboration, and at the same time minimizing burnout due to increased hours of work and the inability to create boundaries at work.
Ashish shares, the analysis performed by Microsoft when they found that increased screen timing due to remote meetings has increased burnout. The research suggests several factors lead to this sense of meeting fatigue: having to focus continuously on the screen to extract relevant information and stay engaged; reduced non-verbal cues that help you read the room or know whose turn it is to talk; and screen sharing with very little view of the people you are interacting with. To reduce the screen fatigue factors, Microsoft has added new features in the Teams meeting experience that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background. The view makes it feel like you’re sitting in the same room, which reduces background distractions, makes it easier to pick up on non-verbal cues, and makes back and forth conversation feel more natural.
He further shares, that to enable managers to empower each of their employees, they have introduced the analytics feature in the Teams. With personal productivity insights in Teams people can strengthen relationships with important people in their networks, seamlessly schedule a time for 1:1s, stay caught up with key communications, and carve out time for important tasks and uninterrupted work. Further with organizational insights, Teams give leaders visibility into how work is evolving and impacting the people who propel their business into the future. By answering questions like, “Are employees at risk for burnout? Are people maintaining strong internal connections?
Employee experience in a hybrid workplace
Shalu highlighted two critical factors when it comes to creating a superior experience in a hybrid workplace:
Leveraging the true value of technology: She shares, the true value of technology is achieved when it is applied to solve critical challenges and opportunities in the workplace.
- How do you use your technology to make people connect better?
- How do you use tech to make your people collaborate better?
- How do you use technology for people to co-create?
- How do you use technology that makes it easier for people to innovate and think of newer ways of working?
- How you make people more productive:
Can you use the right tech and allow them to be more productive and not ake taxing. Making people productive while keeping their well-being intact would be critical.
Listen to the podcast to get detailed insights.
Thanks, Shalu for such wonderful insights and takeaways that will help the community to build more sustainable workplaces and help employees thrive at work. Your insights and journey have definitely helped us integrate the ongoing changes that will be key to organizational resiliency in the months and years to come.