Microsoft study doubts if remote voles are really working

@ 2021/09/14
Voles are not as productive as they once were

A new study finds that Microsoft's companywide shift to remote work has hurt communication and collaboration among different business groups inside the company, threatening employee productivity and long-term innovation.

A peer-reviewed study of more than 61,000 Microsoft employees, in the journal Nature Human Behaviour identified what they called a warning sign for other companies.

"Without intervention, the effects we discovered have the potential to impact workers' ability to acquire and share new information across groups, and as a result, affect productivity and innovation", they write in an accompanying blog post.

"In light of these findings, companies should be thoughtful about if and how they choose to adopt long-term work-from-home policies."

The Microsoft study says remote work has also changed the way employees communicate, causing them to rely more frequently than before on asynchronous communication, such as email and instant messages, and less frequently than before on synchronous communication, such as audio and video calls. "Based on previous research, we believe that the shift to less 'rich' communication media may have made it more difficult for workers to convey and process complex information", the Microsoft researchers write. The study is based on an analysis of anonymised data about emails, calls, meetings, and other work activities by Microsoft employees.

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