Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also warns of the impact of sending late-night emails
The average working day is 46 minutes longer than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, new research has found.
The study of Microsoft employees found that the average working day has expanded by 13 per cent since office workers were told to work from home as Covid spread in 2020, and that there is a third “peak” of productivity at around 10pm. Time spent on after-hours work has also grown by 28 per cent.
In response to the study, Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella said employee wellbeing could suffer if working days continued to get longer.
He cited the research which found through keyboard activity that there were three productivity peaks during the day: morning, afternoon and at night around 10pm.
Speaking at the Wharton Future of Work Conference on Thursday, Mr Nadella said managers need to set clear expectations so that workers don’t feel pressured to answer emails at night.
He continued: “We think about productivity through collaboration and output metrics, but wellbeing is one of the most important pieces of productivity.
“We know what stress does to workers. We need to learn the soft skills, good old-fashioned management practices, so people have their wellbeing taken care of. I can set that expectation, that our people can get an email from the CEO on the weekend and not feel that they have to respond.”
An ongoing survey from Future Forum, a research consortium backed by Slack, found that 75 per cent of people want to be able to choose where they work and 95 per cent want to set their own schedule.
Data from a YouGov poll this week found that there was a stark gender and generational gap in those who prefer flexible working hours and working from home.
It found that less than half of men aged over 55 strongly cared about hybrid working, while 75 per cent of women under 55 said it was an important factor for them.