A global study of pandemic-driven workforce trends has led to six findings, seven trends and five leadership strategies to mull over.

One year into the pandemic, how have workforce trends in Asia, Australia and New Zealand and Japan changed in response to the semi-successful infection-control measures?

One business software vendor has conducted yet another online study to find out. This time, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index surveyed more than 31,092 people in 31 countries and analyzed productivity and labor signals across Microsoft 365 and LinkedIn platforms between 12 Jan and 25 Jan this year.

Some findings from the data include the following:

  1. 47% of Asia respondents were likely to consider changing employers (global average=41%) and 56% were likely to consider a career change (global average=44%). In Japan, 38% of workers felt this way.
  2. 35% percent of Asian respondents had experienced decreased interactions with co-workers (global average=40%).
  3. 55% of Asian respondents in remote-work arrangements said they were more likely to be their authentic selves at work compared to last year (global average=44%, 50% in Australia and New Zealand).  
  4. 63% of Japan respondents said their productivity levels had remained the same compared to last year (global average=40%), 48% of workers were feeling exhausted (global average=39%) and 45 percent feeling stressed (global average=42%).
  5. 61% of Australia and New Zealand respondents felt that their employer cared about their work-life balance (global average=50%).
  6. 50% of Australia and New Zealand respondents were likely to move to a new location because they could work remotely (globally figure=46%).

Microsoft is using these statistics to urge businesses to recognize that work is no longer bound to traditional notions of time and space when it comes to how, when, and where we work. The firm has cited what are supposedly global hybrid work trends:

  • Flexible work is here to stay
  • Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call
  • High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce
  • Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized
  • Shrinking networks are endangering innovation
  • Authenticity will spur productivity and well-being
  • Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world

The firm has recommended that leaders create a plan to empower people for extreme flexibility; invest in workspaces and technologues to bridge the physical and digital worlds; combat digital exhaustion from the top; prioritize rebuilding social capital and culture; and also rethink employee experience to compete for the best and most diverse talent.