Reflections on Productivity and Trust

Interesting article from Microsoft research on the never ending discussion on employee productivity. This time with a reflection on hybrid work.

Key points brought forward are in my opinion:

  • Productivity often still measured in same terms are working on production belt was: number of items per time unit. Quite an outdated measurement in modern work…
  • Quality and meaningful outcomes are what is to be counted instead. (Yet the article falls short on defining how these are to be measured, only indicating the need to relate them to objectives and manager defined “key results”.
  • Employees need guidance on prioritization of work tasks, and what to put on the back burner. This is an evergreen relating to the urgent-important matrix (aka Eisenhower matrix).

The article concludes with the challenge of trust between employer and employee in the situation of hybrid work. I am not sure if there is a cultural aspect to this or not. In my experience it is independent of country the employee works. If manager and employee have a clear alignment what outcomes are needed for what topics, and what outcomes and topics are prioritized it works. The transparency component of trust clearly shows if the outcomes are achieved or the openness component of trust ensures that encountered hurdles that hinder progress are discussed timely between manager and employee.
For remote/hybrid work, it often seems to me that management models needs to modernize, rather than employee behavior.

Have you adapted your management model?