flexibility or perversion of teleworking

  • 13

At the start of the pandemic, Microsoft began detecting spikes in activity in Microsoft Teams chats between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m., when the workday of many of the workers who use this professional tool had already ended, at least in theory. This data caught the attention of the research division of the technology giant, Microsoft Research, which decided to continue studying this anomaly. Now, two years after that, they have come to a disturbing conclusion: It is becoming more and more common for remote employees to have work peaks around 10 p.m.

The data. Research from Redmond has found that in the last year and a half, Microsoft Teams users send 42% more messages through chat outside of work hours, and that 30% of their own employees have a peak of I work around 10 p.m., according to the data collected from the use of the keyboard of these professionals when they use their computers.

Traditionally, workers tend to have two work peaks throughout the day, in the middle of the morning and after lunch, according to data from Microsoft and various previous studies. However, 30% of the workers who underwent the Redmond study showed that, in addition to those two, they had a third around 10 p.m., probably after dinner.

The reasons are not clear. The data is clear, but not the reasons for this third peak. The researchers at Microsoft Research are considering two opposing hypotheses that could be occurring at the same time, depending on the case. The most optimistic estimate that it could be due to the fact that remote employees configure their days intermittently to reconcile work with family life and complete their pending tasks at 10 at night (when, for example, they have already put their children to bed). ) without this meaning that they prolong their working day for more hours than they should.

The other hypothesis, on the other hand, is less promising, and points to an increase in the workload as a consequence of the perversion of some aspects of teleworking, such as the increase in the number of meetings or the inability of the worker to separate personal and family life when both share the same physical space.

too many meetings. The research director of Microsoft’s Human Understanding and Empathy group, Mary Czerwinski, explained to The Atlantic that she believes that part of that spike may be due to the increase in the number of meetings since the start of the pandemic. The researcher assures that workers now have 250% more meetings than before the pandemic, and that this means that they have to work overtime to finish the tasks that these meetings did not allow them to finish on their regular schedule.

Likewise, he considers that with teleworking, meetings between geographically distributed teams, with different time zones, have increased, which would also be encouraging teleworkers to connect after hours. In fact, other Microsoft research indicates that the workday of Teams users has increased, on average, by 13% since March 2020, that is, by 46 more minutes per day.

At the start of the pandemic, Microsoft began detecting spikes in activity in Microsoft Teams chats between 6:00 and 8:00…

At the start of the pandemic, Microsoft began detecting spikes in activity in Microsoft Teams chats between 6:00 and 8:00…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.