8 Kiwi hybrid work trends every business leader needs to know

Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Connect

Microsoft has released its latest findings from its 2021 Work Trend Index and they're predicting the next great disruption is hybrid work.

 Microsoft today announced the findings for New Zealand from its first annual Work Trend Index. Titled “The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?” the report uncovers eight hybrid work trends every business leader needs to know as we enter this new era of work. The report indicates that business leaders in New Zealand should resist the urge to see hybrid work as business as usual.

“The world is on the brink of a disruption as great as last year’s sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home,” says Russell Craig, National Technology Officer at Microsoft New Zealand. “Adapting to this new hybrid model will require rethinking of long-held assumptions. The choices you make today will impact your organisation for years to come. It’s a moment that requires clear vision and a growth mindset. These decisions will impact everything from how you shape culture, to how you attract and retain talent, to how you can better foster collaboration and innovation.”

To help organisations through the transition, the 2021 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries, including New Zealand and analyses trillions of aggregate productivity and labour 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.

Eight hybrid work trends in New Zealand that every business leader needs to know

One thing is abundantly clear: Microsoft is urging businesses to recognise that work is no longer bound to traditional notions of time and space when it comes to how, when, and where we work. Here are eight emerging trends:

  1. Flexible work is here to stay: 71 percent of workers in New Zealand surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue, while at the same time, 65 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams. Business leaders (69 percent) in New Zealand are recognising the workplace evolution and are more likely planning to redesign office space for hybrid work.
  2. Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call: Research shows that 76 percent of leaders in New Zealand say they are thriving right now – 35 percentage points higher than those without decision making power.
  3. High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce: 51 percent of workers in New Zealand feel overworked and 45 percent feel exhausted.
  4. Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energised: 54 percent of this generation in New Zealand — those between the ages of 18 and 25 — say they are merely surviving or flat-out struggling.
  5. Shrinking networks are endangering innovation: Aggregate trends across billions of Microsoft Teams meetings and Outlook emails show interactions with our broader networks diminished with the move to remote work. 17 percent of workers in New Zealand experienced decreased interactions with coworkers with the move to remote work.
  6. Authenticity will spur productivity and wellbeing: Coworkers leaned on each other in new ways to get through the last year. Some workers in New Zealand have cried with a colleague (20 percent), and others have met their colleagues’ pets or families virtually (18 percent). These increased interactions have led to 40 percent of workers in New Zealand feeling like they can be their full authentic selves at work this year.
  7. Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world: More than half (56%) of those surveyed in New Zealand are planning to move to a new location this year because of remote work options. This has also led to 48 percent of workers and 66 percent of Gen Z in New Zealand likely to consider leaving their employers this year.
  1. More employers prioritise work-life balance: 61 percent of workers in New Zealand think that their employer cares about their work-life balance.

In addition to uncovering what’s at stake with the future of work, the Work Trend Index identifies five strategies for business leaders as they begin to make the necessary shift that Craig believes are crucial.

“Business leaders need to create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility, and invest in space and technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds. They also need to combat digital exhaustion from the top, and prioritise rebuilding social capital and culture in the hybrid workplace. They also need to rethink employee experience to complete for the best and most diverse talent.”

Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn, says, “During this pandemic we’ve observed a swift acceleration of certain pre-COVID trends. But perhaps one of the most exciting trends is this rise in remote work. As opportunity is democratised with remote work and talent movement, we’ll see a spread of skills across the country and this is the time for business leaders to take the opportunity to access different skills and talent not previously available to them.”

2021 WORK TREND INDEX

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Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Connect is the leading multi-media hub for New Zealand's tech innovations. We keep you informed on the need-to-know impact stories, the trends shaping our world, and the tech enabling us to go further.

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