Why Microsoft's CEO won't snoop on employees

Why Microsoft’s CEO won’t snoop on employees

Questions around productivity come up whenever the topic of remote working is brought up, the suspicion being that remote workers might be too distracted or too lax to keep themselves on track.

While this isn’t borne out by research, business owners and managers believe this may be true. Many have little confidence that their employees can deliver as they work from home. Statistics show that nearly 87% of employees say they are productive when they do their job from a remote or hybrid setup. About 85% of employers meanwhile have little trust that their employees are doing their work unless they are doing it in-person. 

Indeed, productivity paranoia is alive in many virtual workspaces, with employees finding ways to monitor their employees and enforce productivity, sometimes using baseless productivity metrics like keystroke analysis, and how fast people take to complete certain tasks. 

How Microsoft treats remote work

Microsoft adheres to a hybrid work policy where employees are allowed to work remotely for half of their time. Its CEO Satya Nadella recently talked about this phenomenon and how data should be the only judge when it comes to gauging employee productivity.

Microsoft understands that any sort of employee surveillance can become a distraction on its own. It reinforces the distrust employers have in their remote workers, which undermines trust and is not a healthy way to build meaningful work relationships. Furthermore, monitoring often yields the wrong type of data – information that merely tells when the employee does and does not hack away at their keyboard, but says nothing about how they are working towards achieving the company’s set goals.

Encouraging productivity Nadella’s way

As an alternative to employee surveillance, Microsoft’s CEO instead encourages the company’s managers and decision-makers to focus on setting clear goals. From there, the leadership can communicate how employees should do their tasks in such a way that they accomplish the related objectives on schedule. 

This hands-off approach can do wonders when it comes to productivity and collaboration, it builds trust between employers and employees.

However, for Nadella that may not be enough. For him, real team building and bonding only happens when employees come together in the workplace through work-related dealings or casual interactions during lunch or breaks. When done well, it can strengthen interpersonal relationships, grow each employee’s soft skills and encourage a complete, voluntary return to the office. 

Key takeaway

It is completely natural for employers to worry about the productivity of their workers, especially if they are working remotely and without real-time supervision. However, it is equally unhealthy to monitor every single thing that your remote workers do during work hours. Microsoft offers a great model for building confidence with your employees while encouraging productivity – simply set goals and trust your workers to do what they do best.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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