Amid the debate on moonlighting by tech employees who are working from home after more than two years of the pandemic, a Microsoft report has revealed that 85 per cent of business leaders say that the shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive.
As some organisations use technology to track activity rather than impact, employees lack context on how and why they're being tracked, which can undermine trust and lead to "productivity theatre".
"This has led to productivity paranoia: where leaders fear that lost productivity is due to employees not working, even though hours worked, number of meetings, and other activity metrics have increased," according to the Microsoft's 'Work Trend Index Pulse' report.
Several leaders and managers are missing the old visual cues of what it means to be productive because they can't "see" who is hard at work.
Indeed, compared to in-person managers, hybrid managers are more likely to say they struggle to trust their employees to do their best work (49 per cent vs. 36 per cent) and report that they have less visibility into the work their employees do (54 per cent vs. 38 per cent).
"And as employees feel the pressure to 'prove' they're working, digital overwhelm is soaring," the findings showed.
Nearly 48 per cent of employees and 53 per cent of managers report that they're already burned out at work.
According to the report, leaders need to pivot from worrying about whether their people are working enough to helping them focus on the work that's most important.
Nearly 81 per cent of employees say it's important that their managers help them prioritise their workload, but less than a third (31 per cent) say their managers have ever given clear guidance during one-on-ones.
"Solving this issue needs to start at the top: 74 per cent of people managers say more guidance on prioritising their own work would help their performance, and 80 per cent say they'd personally benefit from more clarity from senior leadership on impactful priorities," said the report.