COVID Diaries Week 19: 5 Data Points From WFH.

Finally, the data is starting to roll-in about exactly what has changed for the #WFH crowd, other than “everything.”

Microsoft has been chewing on the dataset from one of their large teams, and it has some fascinating insights into how EVERYTHING CHANGED!

1. Workers for the Win.

When everything changes, everyday workers are more likely to be an active participant in the establishment of new norms. Below is some of what they want / need, but the critical point to make is: workers know what is best for them. Let’s talk about trust, shall we?!

2. Meetings Morph.

The number of #meetings is up 10% – there is less workplace serendipity; so more formal organization is required. However, meeting duration is down – 30 minutes is the new normal. Meetings have historically been getting longer (and depressing workers). People are fighting back.  

3. Managers Carry the Weight.

Gallup recently reported that managers’ engagement has been most impacted by the #pandemic. Now we know why.

Managers are taking the brunt of the organizational tension. Their collaboration demands and chat/IM load has doubled.  

Observation:

I keep thinking about the very average managers I have seen vaguely operating at work over the years. Good luck with having an average manager without EQ in pandemic times!  Imagine what 1-2-1 check-ins are like with a lame manager?! Likely non-existent. 

4. Work Day Morphs

The workday has lengthened as balance takes on a new meaning – for example, juggling household accountabilities (childcare etc.) requires more flexibility.

Perhaps the work day has become a less intensive but longer experience? After all, there is nothing else to do in lockdown, so work grazing is likely to increase…

5. Network Net Work.

Networks have become increasingly important. Microsoft saw network growth not only within existing work groups but also across different groups, indicating that to adapt and thrive teams sought to build bridges.  

The org flattens remotely – everyone is equally available via tech; and everyone is out of sight, so perversely it brings everyone closer! Just one click away…


According to the HBR article, Microsoft has

“seen groups respond to recent behavioral shifts by normalizing manager one-on-ones to help employees gain clarity and connection, increasing small-group meetings to combat the isolation of remote work, and reducing late-night instant messaging to address burnout.”

What have you seen, introduced, made work, changed, morphed at your work?  

This Much We Know.

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