Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has warned that employee well-being could be severely impacted as an average work day gets longer and employees start working at night to get their work done.
Speaking at the Wharton Future of Work Conference earlier this week Nadella said that managers need to set clear norms and expectations for workers so that they’re not pressured into answering emails late at night. “We think about productivity through collaboration and output metrics, but well-being is one of the most important pieces of productivity,” Nadella said.
“We know what stress does to workers. We need to learn the soft skills, good old-fashioned management practices, so people have their well-being 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,” he added.
Nadella was quoting a recent report by Microsoft that talked about the rise of ‘triple-peak day’. As per the findings of the report, 9-to-5 workday is fading in an age of remote and hybrid work and more flexible hours. Traditionally, knowledge workers have had two productivity peaks in their workday: before lunch and after lunch. However, since the beginning of work-from-home mode amid the pandemic, a third peak emerged for some in the hours before bedtime, which the researchers began referring to as a ‘triple peak day.’
The report also says that boundaries between “office hours” and everything else have become thinner this past year and a half. And a lot of people have started working late at night to focus and get the work done.
When asked if he refrained from sending emails on the weekend, Nadella dodged the question saying, “I am learning every day.”
Microsoft has brought on board around 50,000 employees during the pandemic and people, particularly in the technology sector, are increasingly demanding more flexibility in where and when they work, Nadella said at the conference.
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