The Hybrid Work Dilemma


A recent study conducted by Microsoft found that new peaks in employee productivity are impacting how employees work best. The study, conducted between February 2020 and February 2021, found that the average Microsoft Teams user sent 42% more chat messages per person after traditional working hours. Last summer, a smaller Microsoft study of internal employees found that 30% experienced an evening spike.

Traditional productivity had two peaks during the workday which were before and after lunch. But the pandemic sent so many people into a work-from-home condition that a third peak has emerged. This “Triple Peak Day” now includes hours before bedtime.

This new workday is forcing discussions about flexibility, work arrangements and company culture. The transition to hybrid work is still evolving for many businesses as managers and business owners try to implement policies and procedures.

It is important to determine the cause for an employee’s need for an evening schedule such as caregiving duties or other responsibilities related to home and family matters. However, it is also important to identify if employees feel pressured to appear online or active at a certain time beyond traditional hours. Being forced to catch-up on work due to a busy daytime schedule, digital distractions or meetings can lead to burn-out and the employee’s inability to disconnect from work.

Compromise is important. If an employee prefers to be productive at a certain time of day, and if the arrangement works well for the business, it may be prudent to trust that the employee can work best in a way that works better for them. It’s about optimizing schedules to create a win-win situation for the employee and the employer and finding a way to make home life and work life blend together for a positive outcome.

*Southland Data Processing, Inc. (“SDP”) is not a law firm. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other SDP materials does not create an attorney-client relationship. SDP is not responsible for any inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

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