Peter Griffin, Editor. 31 March 2022, 9:16 am
A third of New Zealand business leaders claim to be rethinking how to measure their organisation’s productivity as their staff put a higher value on relationships and results over hours worked.
Microsoft’s annual Work Trend Index Report released this week surveyed 31,000 people in 31 countries around the world, including New Zealand. Its findings reflect the new realities of hybrid and remote working, which is now the norm for many knowledge workers and particularly those in the tech world.
Employees want hybrid work options, but the Work Trend Index report reveals that one in three Kiwi employers “will require their team to go back into the office full-time in the next 12 months”.
The survey revealed that 71% of New Zealand employees say that it is important that employers reward “impact over number of hours worked”. Globally, 42% of employees said that networking-related activities drives business impact. But employers were less convinced – only 30% felt that networking activities are important to achieving business impact.
While achieving business impact was important for employees, gaining positive client feedback and achieving individual goals were also increasingly important KPIs for workers, many of whom are lacking the positive reinforcement they previously gained through spending more time directly with their co-workers, bosses and customers.
New Zealand has long struggled with poor worker productivity, an issue the Productivity Commission was established to investigate and attempt to correct. The Commission’s Productivity by the Numbers report released last year showed that Kiwis worked 34.2 hours per week on average, higher than the 31.9 hours per week worked in OECD countries. We produce $68 of output per hour, compared to $85 per hour for OECD countries overall.
There are numerous reasons for that, but Microsoft suggests that employing new outcome-focused ways of working can help lift productivity.
“By embracing modern ways of working beyond simply measuring time spent in the office, Kiwi businesses have an opportunity to really make hybrid-work work,” says Robert Havranek, Modern Work and Security Business Group lead, Microsoft NZ.
“With the new tools and technologies available, we’re better able to measure the elements of work that can help local businesses unlock greater productivity, innovation and prosperity.”
Microsoft saw huge growth in its Teams collaboration platform during the pandemic and is now extending Teams into the metaverse, which it sees as a useful tool to improve collaboration and networking in the era of hybrid working, where it may be rare for all team members to be in the office at the same time.
The Work Index report highlighted the importance of good working relationships with survey respondents estimating their productivity is 50% higher than those with poor relationships.
“Social capital has to do with the resources and opportunities you have access to because of who you know,” says Nancy Baym, principal researcher at Microsoft.
“When people trust one another and have that kind of capital, you get a willingness to take risks, you get more innovation and creativity and less groupthink.”