Sep 22, 2022 - Economy

Employers are paranoid that workers aren't productive enough

Animated illustration of a trend line teetering back and forth as it balances on a briefcase

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Remote work has led to a huge gap in perception when it comes to worker productivity, according to a new Microsoft Work Trend report out today.

What they found: The vast majority of employees (87%) say they are productive at work. Yet nearly as many leaders (85% of those surveyed) say they’ve found it challenging to have confidence that workers are, indeed being productive.

What’s happening: Hybrid and remote work has enabled workers to have more flexibility and to work more, while simultaneously reducing visibility that employers used to have when everyone was in the office.

Why it matters: Microsoft calls this effect “productivity paranoia,” and says the effect it has on leaders risks making hybrid work unsustainable.

  • “Leaders need to pivot from worrying about whether their people are working enough to helping them focus on the work that’s most important,” the report concludes. 

Hope’s thought bubble: Workers should have ongoing, candid conversations about day-to-day and long-term expectations and goals.

Go deeper