Microsoft has carried out a study on smart working which demonstrates black and white some of its negative aspects, especially for the worker, who who has been practicing it regularly for some time already knows empirically. Extremely synthesizing the paper published in Harvard Business Review, the main phenomena observed are the following:
- The working day is getting longer. The workers observed (sample of 350 people in completely anonymous form) worked on average four hours a week more; supposed to make up for time spent during working hours on personal tasks – hanging out the laundry, taking the dog out, and so on.
- Meetings increase, even if they are shorter. On average, each employee spends about 10% more time in conferences and virtual meetings, probably to compensate for the fact that he does not meet any colleague while walking around the office. If nothing else, they last less: those for less than 30 minutes have grown by 22%, those for more than an hour have decreased by 11%. The frequency of afternoon meetings also increases, to the detriment of those in the morning.
- All the more electronic written communication. Messages via instant messenger grow by as much as 115% for team leaders towards subordinates.
- During lunch breaks and in the evening it falls off less. Instant messages only decreased by 10% when away from the station, before the lockdown they dropped by 25%. The messages in the evening, after the end of the shift, therefore between 18 and 24 approximately, grew by as much as 52%.
In a nutshell: the line between time spent on work and time spent on private life becomes less clear. The two spheres interfere more with each other with all the resulting risks – mainly the increase in cases of burnout, or exhaustion from too much work. Microsoft, which for some weeks has already sided against smart working to the bitter end, said it wanted to codify a set of rules and tips to protect the health of its workers. In the meantime, we offer you a series of tips from those who have been practicing smart working for years and years, and a truly tempting opportunity to practice it from a Caribbean paradise; and be careful, that underestimating the risks in the long term could end quite badly.
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