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54% feel overworked, 39% feel exhausted…how about you?

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If you weren’t with me yesterday, I was writing about Microsoft’s huge, global survey of working practices and productivity during the pandemic and what the changes engendered as a result of this disruption mean for businesses now and in the future.

As I and others could have told you last year, this means is that we’re moving towards a situation where hybrid, or blended, working (in office and also in home) becomes the norm.  However, the MS survey also considered personal productivity and how people have reacted individually to the pressures of lockdown and, again unsurprisingly, found Covid has had a huge impact.  

According to MS’s study, “one in five global survey respondents say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance. Fifty-four percent feel overworked. Thirty-nine percent feel exhausted. And trillions of productivity signals from Microsoft 365 quantify the precise digital exhaustion workers are feeling.”  They also found that co-workers are more likely to cry in company with each other, and that different generations have responded in different ways, with Gen Z, women, frontline workers and people who have just started their careers being most stressed over the past year. Add in the barrage of online communications, meeting and chat overload, and, Microsoft says, this “proves the intensity of our workday, and that what is expected of employees during this time, has increased significantly.”

In contrast, and this is nub of what I want to get across today, the study also found that “many business leaders are faring better than their employees.” Some 61% of leaders “say they are “thriving” right now — 23 percentage points higher than those without decision-making authority. They also report building stronger relationships with colleagues (+11 percentage points) and leadership (+19 percentage points), earning higher incomes (+17 percentage points), and taking all or more of their allotted vacation days (+12 percentage points).

You don’t have to be a genius to see that there is a disconnect here. What this means for recruitment/retention is an obvious, related question – and one I’ll look at tomorrow.  

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment

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