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Flexible Ways of Working Are Here to Stay, Finds New Microsoft Ireland Research – With Leaders Focused on Trying to Maintain Culture and Innovation

Microsoft has released new research into remote working in Ireland on 5th November as part of a pan-European piece of research commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Boston Consulting Group and KRC Research.

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Some key points of the research:

The hybrid workplace is here to stay:

  • 97% cited the importance of changing their firm’s ways of working to become more innovative and flexible.
  • 71% of employees worked remotely during the first lockdown
  • Leaders expect 45% of employees will continue to work remotely. Employees expect to spend one third of time outside of the office

Explosion in remote working policies:

  • 72% of organisations have implemented remote working policies, (versus 22% last year)

Business benefits:

  • Productivity: Seven in 10 leaders (73%) saw equal or more productivity from remote workers.

o    For people surveyed in Ireland their best time of day to really focus was between 9 and 11am. The ability to do focused work plummets in the afternoon.

  • Retention: Well over half (68%) of business leaders see remote working as key to retaining talented employees, higher than the European average of 56%.
  • Sustainability: Taking a broader societal view, more than half of leaders (61%) see increased sustainability as a key business reason to adopt remote working.

Top benefits for employees:

  • 79% Dressing casually
  • 56% More time for hobbies
  • 46% Personalised workspace
  • 32% Working with pet by my side

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Innovation:

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  • 41% of leaders thought their companies were innovative around core products and services – The same number agreed with that sentiment in our research in 2019 (42%).

Innovative Culture:

An innovative culture is where employees feel empowered, where there is open communications with managers, and where there is a strong, inclusive vision from the top.

  • Employees in innovative companies:

o    72% are equally or more productive when working remotely (vs 60% in less innovative companies)

o    59% of employees feel empowered to make decisions.

o    71% feel it’s okay to make mistakes.

o    93% collaborate with colleagues seamlessly.

o    94% can focus attention solely on the task at hand.

o    80% feel that their contribution makes a difference in the company.

o    90% agree that their team can get a lot done when they work hard.

o    69% feel happy at work (vs 39% of employees with less innovative company cultures).

Leader’s challenges:

However, for many leaders, this year marked the first time they were responsible for leading people who were working remotely.

  • 58% said they feel they have not yet effectively learned how to delegate and empower virtual teams.
  • 56% of leaders found it harder to create a strong and unified team.
  • 51% feel they have not effectively learned how to be empathetic with their teams.

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