News: Productivity paranoia? Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella urges leaders to trust workers more

Culture

Productivity paranoia? Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella urges leaders to trust workers more

Satya Nadella sounded the alarm on the growing distrust between employers and employees in a trend he dubbed ‘productivity paranoia’. Where do leaders and workers disagree?
Productivity paranoia? Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella urges leaders to trust workers more

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has called on fellow business leaders to avoid spying on their employees who choose to work from home just to make sure that they’re productive.

More workplaces have begun using videoconferencing technology to conduct meetings between employees working remotely. In fact, Microsoft Teams usage grew by as much as 153% even before the start of the Covid pandemic.

However, there is evidence to suggest that employers might not share the same enthusiasm of using telecommuting applications as their workers.

According to a recent Microsoft study, more than four in five (85%) business leaders said it is hard for them to have “confidence that employees are being productive” when they work from home.

While nearly an equal number of employees (87%) are confident that they are more productive when they work from their homes, some workers feel that they still get burned out.

Read more: The return-to-work pushback: What it means for the future of work

Workplaces have also seen an 84% drop in the number of virtual meetings over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, the volume of tentative RSVP responses have jumped to an eye-popping 216%, with business leaders resorting to regular check-ins with staff to monitor their performance.

This growing distrust between employers and their workers is what Nadella wants to address before it gets out of hand. In an interview with the BBC, the Microsoft CEO explained the trend that they’ve been seeing in workplaces.

“We have to get past what we describe as ‘productivity paranoia’ because all of the data we have shows 80% plus of the individual people feel they’re very productive – except their management thinks that they’re not productive,” Nadella said.

“That means there is a real disconnect in terms of the expectations and what they feel.”

Read more: How to win the talent war in 2022

Spying on remote workers

The issue of employee surveillance has become a hot topic of discussions in the employment industry. However, Microsoft is making itself clear that it doesn’t agree with the practice.

“We don’t think that employers should be surveilling and taking note of the activity of keystrokes and mouse clicks and those types of things because, in so many ways, we feel like that’s measuring heat rather than outcome,” Microsoft Corporate VP Jared Spataro told Bloomberg.

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Topics: Culture, Performance Management

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