A Year In Review: How The Global Workforce Tackled The Shift To Working Remotely

With the global outbreaks of COVID-19, came situations the world wasn’t prepared for. World leaders imposed nationwide lockdowns, flights came to an indefinite halt and the global workforce had to shift from working from their offices to work from their homes. 

The lock-down situation has affected employers and employees alike, some more than others. It’s made working easier for some and equally as bad for others but if there’s one thing that can be said for sure, is that flexible working has definitely become the new normal, with some companies having made the shift completely.   

Microsoft has released the 2021 Work Trend Index, a report that focuses heavily on how the world has taken the shift to report work.

Here are some of the findings. 


Flexible work is here to stay

According to Microsoft’s report, more than 65% of workers prefer working in person, from within their offices. Whereas, over 70% prefer remote working options, such as from their homes, cafes, or even co-working spaces.

It goes without saying, every person works differently. Productivity levels differ from person to person and are highly dependent on the environment one’s working in. That being said, 66% of employers are now being required to redesign their working spaces to better fit the hybrid work environment.


Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call

Having been a little over a year since flexible working was implemented, 42% of employees don’t have access to essential office supplies. An average 46% of employees also complain that their employers don’t assist them with work-related expenses.

Jared Spataro, CVP at Microsoft 365 says, “With remote work, there are fewer chances to ask employees, ‘Hey, how are you?’ and then pick up on important cues as they respond. But the data is clear: our people are struggling. And we need to find new ways to help them.”

More than a third (37%) of the global workforce have complained of their employers asking for too much from them, at times like this. It is clear from these statistics that to yield better results, it is crucial for employers and employees to work together, acknowledge difficulties and help create strategy to problem-solve. 


High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce

The Microsoft report brought in some concerning stats, more than half (54%) of employees feel overworked, 39% feel exhausted and one in five global survey respondents expressed negativity saying they feel their employer doesn’t care for their work-life balance.

Microsoft 365 also revealed numbers to compare global work trends between February 2020 and February 2021, to get an insight into how things have changed, digitally. 

  • Time spent using Microsoft Teams has more than doubled and it continues to steadily increase.
  • Previously the average meeting would last about 35 minutes, it now stands at 45 minutes.
  • Average user of Microsoft Teams is said to be sending 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per post-work hours.
  • Emails sent to educations and commercial clients in Feb 2021 have increased by 40.6 billion, when compared to February 2020.

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