Microsoft recently made changes to its Teams and Viva platforms ahead of the February 1st Cloud For Retail general availability – and published a report alongside the changes which outlines the challenges frontline workers are facing in 2022.
According to Jared Spataro (Microsoft’s CVP for Modern Work), Microsoft defines a frontline work as “folks who were not able to go home and did all their work in person” – which can cover everyone from those staffing production lines to healthcare workers, and to hospitality staff and those working to keep power grids running.
The changes will hopefully bridge the gap between manager and worker in building workplace culture.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, had already highlighted the 2 billion (give or take) workers included in that segment which, even prior to the pandemic, would benefit from Microsoft’s tech.
9,600 employees and managers were surveyed, and covered over eight industries across five continents, which formed the report.
The report shows that, while 76% of workers felt bonded to their peers, over 60% felt that communication from higher ups wasn’t great and could be done with improvements made by their employers. On top of that, 51 per cent in non-management positions on the frontline felt less valued.
What does this mean? Following the fact that the pandemic is causing workers to decide if they would benefit from a change in employment, (according to the survey, 4.5 million Americans quit their job in November) and growing stresses, it shows a change of culture. 64 per cent of people surveyed reckoned that a pay rise would ease some of their stresses, half of the surveyed felt paid time off would help and a third suggested improvements in technology tools.
Between March 2020 and November 2021, Microsoft saw a 400% rise in Monthly Teams usage and Healthcare and Financial Services led the way at a 560 % and 550% rise respectively.
There is a danger of some employees being left to struggle, however, as older workers (aged 41 and up) had more problems adapting to the new way of working, conversely the younger workers (40 and under) found the workplace tech actually somewhat behind the technology they were used to, according to the survey.
There’s only so much that Microsoft can do of course, and there isn’t much it can do in terms of frontline worker holidays and pay rises etc but what it can do is improve the employee experience online and it’s presented Viva as a way of linking frontline workers with company culture and improving the accessibility of recourses, such as HR. It’s also making the integration of Teams to Zebra Reflexis easier to connect workforce management platforms with Teams’ Shifts application.
“Empowering frontline workers remains essential for digital transformation.”
Emma Williams, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President
The steps to teach and empower through tech are no doubt improving the lives of workers all over the world, however there are still two top ways that will reduce stress in the workplace, according to the survey: pay frontline workers more and give them paid leave.