Over two-thirds of staff want flexible working to stay, say Microsoft

Most workers in the UK - 71 per cent - want flexible working options to continue post-pandemic, according to new research from Microsoft.

The software giant’s report surveyed over 30,000 people in 31 countries and analysed “trillions of productivity labour signals” across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn.

The news comes as the government begins to ease lockdown measures and many non-essential workers are set to return to the office.

More than a third of UK workers - 37 per cent - are likely to move to a new location in the next year because they can work remotely according to the report.

However, Microsoft’s report claims that the desire for more flexible working among staff appears out of step with the demands of their bosses.

One in five - 20 per cent – of UK workers feel that their company doesn’t care about their work-life balance according to the report, with 57 per cent of UK employees feeling “overworked”, and 47 per cent saying they are “exhausted”.

However, Microsoft’s survey said 43 per cent of leaders said they are “thriving”, compared with 33 per cent of workers who feel the same.

The software giant highlighted the concerns for the UK’s Generation-Z workers, with 63 per cent of this cohort saying that they are either “struggling” or “surviving” today.

Microsoft suggested this risk of burnout could prompt upheaval in many sectors, as 41 per cent of workers who responded to the survey are considering leaving their current employers in the next year.

This trend is especially acute for Generation-Z workers according to the report, 63 per cent said they are considering switching jobs.

In addition, Microsoft’s report claimed 33 per cent of UK workers say they are more likely to be their “full authentic selves at work” this year compared to last, which the company said indicated a rise in genuine interactions despite the remote setting.

“The pandemic has proven that organisations can trust their people to be productive wherever they are,” said Nick Hedderman, modern work and security business group Lead at Microsoft UK. “As working physically together comes into view again, leaders now have the opportunity to define a hybrid work strategy that combines the best of the digital workplace and the physical workplace; empowering people with the flexibility and autonomy of remote work and enabling the crucial human connection with colleagues and customers in person.”

“Hybrid working won’t happen by accident; there are months and years of experimenting and refining ahead.”

“Leaders will need a clear strategy, reshaping work around individual roles, preferences and even personal lives.”

He added: “Employee wellbeing should be at the forefront of the hybrid work strategy, to foster an accessible, innovative and supportive culture, where everyone is inspired and no one is left behind.”

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