Don’t Fight the Change. Work the Change (with Data)

a woman in a brown blazer working on her laptop

I think the best way to bridge the paradox is not to have more dogma, but more data.” Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO shared his advice on the work from home challenge, speaking at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit earlier this week. He said, “Instead of this being some kind of argument, let the data really help us move forward.

In Microsoft’s recent Work Trends Study, that surveyed 20,000 people across 11 countries, these were two contrasting statistics:

  1. 87% of employees say they’re more productive when they work remotely or in a hybrid setup.
  2. 85% of leaders say hybrid work makes it difficult to determine if their workers are being productive.

So, most leaders do not have enough confidence in their employee’s productivity levels when they work from home or remotely.

After more than two years when employees were forced to scramble into their living rooms and bedrooms with all their hi-tech fancy work gadgets, employees and their bosses continue to disagree. That’s hard to believe. And, this is because we continue to fight with the change.

As Satya Nadella says, the best way to navigate this challenge is to use more data.

Microsoft is showing the way too. Employees are allowed to work remotely half the time. And if they need more remote time, they can seek approval from their bosses.

How can businesses work with the change using data?

The first step is to have clear goals and objectives. As Satya Nadella said, “I think the way to manage that would be to really make sure that you’re very clear as leaders and managers about what the goals of the company or the team are, setting the norms for how people collaborate, and communicate.

  1. Define goals and KPIs: the expected outcomes for each job role. Include both effort based, and outcome based KPIs
  2. Revisit the job description: the roles and responsibilities. Think through the tasks you want each employee to accomplish to meet the KPIs listed in the previous step.
  3. Segregate tasks: what tasks can be completed working remotely? This segregation of tasks gives the employer and employee a clear understanding of how much time each week can be allowed for remote work.

This sets the ground rule on drafting a work policy. The classification of tasks helps the employees too. They get a clear understanding of what activities can be completed remotely and tasks that require them to be present in the office or any other work location.

So, get back to the drawing board. Don’t try and force fit pieces from the pre-pandemic work culture into today’s hybrid work puzzle. You are setting yourself up for failure and conflicts.

We need to see the world through a different lens. The question is not whether remote work is here to stay? The question we must answer is can we allow our employees to spend more time being mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends. I believe we sure can.

Don’t fight the change. Work the change with data.

By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.

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