Exclusive research and expert insights reveal urgent trends for leaders as the next phase of work unfolds
Microsoft Corp. recently announced findings from its 2021 Work Trend Index1. Titled “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work — Are We Ready?”, the report uncovers seven hybrid work trends2 every business leader must know as we enter a new era of work, namely the hybrid work.
Hybrid work is a blended working model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home. While everyone is still learning to adapt with this model as we go, two things are known for sure:
- Flexible work is here to stay. In Indonesia, up to 83% workers want flexible remote work options to stay; higher than global with 73%. Up to 72% of Indonesian business leaders are also more likely to be planning to redesign office space for hybrid work; higher than global with 66%.
- Remote working is the new magnet for work talents.In Indonesia, around 63% of workers are likely to move to a new location within the next year (much higher than global with 46%), while 49% say they are likely to consider leaving their employers this year (higher than global with 41%). Getting remote working option is among their main considerations to move.
“The latest trends present a unique opportunity to create a new and better future of work. At Microsoft, we aim to help everyone thrive in this new hybrid world of work,” said Haris Izmee, President Director, Microsoft Indonesia. “To do that, we continue innovating and assisting people with their digital transformation journey. For examples, by introducing new features in Microsoft Teams, as well as introducing our new employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva,” continued Haris.
The Challenges and Opportunities
Last year’s trend of remote work has created new job opportunities for some, offered more family time, and provided options for whether or when to commute. Unfortunately, there are new challenges ahead:
- Teams have become more siloed and digital exhaustion is a real and unsustainable threat. In Indonesia, 40% of workers experienced decreased interactions with coworkers (which can endanger innovation), 61% workers feel overworked, and 68% of Gen Z say they are struggling. The increasing time spent in meetings might be one of the main contributors to those feelings. According to a latest study by Microsoft on brain wave activity, back-to-back meetings can decrease people’s ability to focus and engage.Transitioning between meetings can be also a source of high stress.
- There is a gap between how the leaders and workers feel. In Indonesia, while 53% of business leaders say they are thriving, 33% of workers say their company is asking too much of them at a time like this. This suggests a need for wakeup call to business leaders.
Despite all the challenges, there are still great opportunities to create a workplace where everyone can thrive, using learning from last year’s sudden shift to remote work. Microsoft has identified five strategies for business leaders to begin to make the shift:
- Create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility
- Combat digital exhaustion from the top. Do less, embrace asynchronous collaboration, and have culture of breaks. Microsoft’s study on brain wave activity reveals that breaks between meetings allow the brain to “reset,” reducing a cumulative buildup of stress across meetings.
- Reimagine space and technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds
- Rebuilding social capital and culture
- Rethink employee experience to compete for the best and most diverse talent
“Hybrid work urges us to set aside our long-held assumptions that dictate how people need to work in the same place at the same time to be productive and have impact. It’s a big mental shift – one that will require leaders and organizations to fundamentally reexamine and rewire their operating model,” closed Haris.
The full findings of “The 2021 Work Trend Index” report and “Research Proves Your Brain Needs Break” study can be viewed at Microsoft’s WorkLab, a digital publication about the future of work, at this page and this page respectively.
From a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries (including Indonesia) and analyses of trillions of productivity and labor signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn. It also includes perspectives from experts who have studied collaboration, social capital, and space design at work for decades.
The seven trends: 1) Flexible work is here to stay, 2) Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call, 3) High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce, 4) Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized, 5) Shrinking networks are endangering innovation, 6) Authenticity will spur productivity and well-being, 7) Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world.