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Brief Published: 6 Apr 2022

Microsoft Work Trends 2022: Wellbeing in the Spotlight

Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index spotlights a change in workers’ priorities

Microsoft has released its annual Work Trend Index, a survey gauging the expectations and attitudes of the global workforce. The findings highlight a pivotal shift in employees’ priorities, with a greater focus on wellbeing, work-life balance and flexibility as opposed to hustle culture.

“We’ve changed in some fundamental ways in terms of how we think about life, […] about what’s important to us, and in particular, how we think about work,” Jared Spataro, corporate vice-president of Microsoft 365 and Teams, told Fast Company.

What transpires in Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index is a change in workers’ priorities. Globally, 53% of workers are now more likely to prioritise their health and wellbeing over work than they would have been before the pandemic, and nearly half (47%) aim to put a greater focus on family and personal life.

In this redefined ‘worth it’ equation – what people want from their jobs compared to what they’re willing to give – workers are acting on newfound priorities, with 18% of global workers leaving their jobs in 2021. Reasons for quitting included personal wellbeing or mental health (24%), work-life balance (24%), risk of getting Covid-19 (21%), lack of confidence in senior management (21%), and lack of flexible work hours or location (21%) (Microsoft, 2022). Inadequate compensation only ranked seventh (19%).

Furthermore, the survey assessed what employees want in a new job, besides remuneration. It found the aspects of work considered ‘very important’ are positive culture (46%), mental health and wellbeing benefits (42%), a sense of purpose or meaning (40%), flexible working hours (38%), and more than the average two weeks of paid leave per year (36%).

Microsoft is putting these findings into practice. For instance, it allows most of its global staff to work remotely up to 50% of the time without seeking permission from their manager.

 For more on post-pandemic work attitudes, see Enlightened Employers and The New Rules of Work.