Tuesday, April 16, 2024

When working from home, the workday has triple peak activities

The latest Microsoft study of the habits of employees who work in a hybrid, ie in the office and from home, once again showed that working hours are extended and that some new patterns of behavior are being created.


3 min read

The pandemic has completely changed the work paradigm, and business is more intertwined with private life than ever before, according to a new Microsoft study of their employees’ habits. Past research of this type has shown that working from home has significantly extended working hours, ie that employees unknowingly gave the employer about four hours a week of overtime while working from home. The second result concerned the “suffocation” of innovation and productivity when it comes to exclusively online work, and the latest data also shows how people schedule working hours when they are not in the office.



According to Microsoft’s data on the amount of typing within the Teams application, “9 to 5” working hours are slowly becoming a thing of the past, and employees are increasingly working significantly outside of working hours – in the late afternoon and even at night. This has led to a whole new look for the workday if you analyze the intensity of activity on Teams (and it can easily be translated into sending e-mails and other work tasks).

Triple peak working day data
This graph represents the working patterns of study subjects as a whole.
Illustration by Valerio Pellegrini

A day in the life of the average employee working from home so very often has three pronounced “peaks” of productivity. The first is usually in the morning, before the lunch break (around 11 am). The second peak, slightly lower, culminates around 3 pm, while the surprising, third and smallest peak, was recorded around 10 pm.

As a possible explanation for this third wave of activities, which is not even close to regular working hours, it is pointed out that in it work tasks are performed by those who have children – so they spend afternoons with them, prepare them for rest, and then get to work. At that time, they are free from e-mails, calls, and other distractions, so they make up for what they missed during the day.

Triple peak working day data
In a study of Microsoft employees, about 30 percent experienced “peaks” of work in the morning, afternoon, and, to a lesser extent, the evening. This graph captures those employees who experienced the pattern, which Microsoft researchers refer to as a “triple peak day.”
Illustration by Valerio Pellegrini

The number of messages sent through Teams outside working hours has increased by as much as 42% since the beginning of the pandemic, and 30% of employees show a trend of “third peak” activity in the evening.

Flexibility of work
Microsoft concludes that it is crucial that companies support employees when they “redesign” their workday in this way. Employers need to be more open and flexible towards, for example, taking breaks during the day, according to the needs of workers, if such behavior aims at greater employee satisfaction and, consequently, their better health and mental state. What matters is not scheduling appointments at unconventional times, and focusing on productivity, not when someone is working.

Microsoft also states that it will introduce scheduled messaging capabilities in Outlook and Teams – ie those who work in the evening will be able to type their emails and messages whenever it suits them, send them with a delay, so they will be delivered to recipients only during regular business hours. .






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