Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella bats for employee well-being, says employees shouldn’t feel obligated to respond to late-night emails

Microsoft recently conducted research to look at the impact of work from home on collaboration.

Nadella emphasised that while productivity is measured through output metrics and collaboration, well-being was one of the most important aspects of productivity. (File image)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: Since the coronavirus pandemic started and work-from-home became the new normal, the lines between work and personal life have been blurring increasingly. Now, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has expressed concern that the ever-expanding work day, which now creeps into late night as well, could negatively impact the well-being of employees. Microsoft recently conducted research to look at the impact of work from home on collaboration so as to improve the functionality of its Teams software.

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Citing this research, Nadella said that keyboard activity indicates that employees’ productivity, which usually spikes before and after lunch, peaks a third time late in the evening. This, he said, demonstrated how remote work was blurring the line between job and home lives further than it already was. According to the CEO, there was a need for managers to set clear expectations and norms for the employees, so that the latter did not feel like they had to answer emails late at night.

Nadella emphasised that while productivity is measured through output metrics and collaboration, well-being was one of the most important aspects of productivity. Adding that the impact of stress on workers was well-known, he said that soft skills and “good old-fashioned” management practices were needed to take care of employee well-being. He further said that he could set that expectation that his employees could get an email from the CEO over the weekend and not feel the need to respond right then.

Talkspace, an online therapy provider, commissioned a Harris Poll which found that 67% of the employees thinking of leaving their jobs said their employers were not holding up their promises of focusing on employee mental health.

A new study of Microsoft employees has shown that 30% of the people experienced productivity peaks in the morning, afternoon, and even at 10 pm, albeit to a lesser extent. It was also noted that the average workday has increased by 46 minutes since the beginning of the pandemic, with the time spent on work after hours increasing rapidly.

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