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Brief Published: 2 Apr 2021

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Reveals 2021 Workplace Trends

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Despite 67% of workers wanting more in-person collaboration with teammates, 73% want flexible working options to remain

To mark a year of pandemic-provoked mass remote working, Microsoft launched its 2021 Work Trend Index to highlight trends and pain points that employers need to be aware of. We delve into the research’s key findings to help brands support their staff as hybrid work reigns.

  • Keep it Flexible: Despite 67% of workers wanting more in-person collaboration with teammates, 73% want flexible working options to remain. Make like the 66% of employers that are redesigning existing workspaces to accommodate the demands of hybrid work – see Work’s Flexible Future for inspiration on how to support tomorrow’s agile workers.
  • The Inclusivity Opportunity: Continuing to offer remote working opportunities will help attract more diverse applicants. Women (46% vs 40%), candidates without a degree (59% vs 54%) and Gen Z workers (21% vs 18%) are more likely to apply for remote positions than on-site roles.
  • The Peril of Productivity over People: Despite the shift to remote working and external life stresses, workers are more productive than ever. In the year February 2020-21, weekly meeting time increased by 148%, while delivered emails rose by 40.6 billion.
    However, this has come at the expense of worker wellbeing; 20% of respondents say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance, while over half (54%) feel overworked, leading 39% to report feeling exhausted.
    As 41% of the global workforce have considered changing their employment in the past year, now more than ever, employers must ensure they provide safe, supportive environments for their workers – or risk haemorrhaging staff.
  • Lead by Example: Microsoft also published its hybrid work strategy, explaining the steps the company has taken to support its workplace shift. This includes implementing Covid-secure strategies in existing workspaces, creating prototype hybrid offices, and exploring mixed-reality scenarios (like its new Mesh platform – see The Brief).
    Brands should emulate Microsoft and share best practices to tackle the return-to-work challenge, and help businesses across the globe recover from Covid-19 disruption.
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