Months into hybrid work, there’s a productivity disconnect between leaders and employees.
Flexible work makes measuring performance more challenging for business leaders, who must also contend with confusing economic signals, including rising inflation, shrinking budgets, and a tight job market.
Research shows that 87 percent of employees feel that they’re productive at work, whether they’re in the office or at home. But only 12 percent of leaders say they have full confidence that their team is productive. “Leaders are saying, ‘I can’t see the work happening. I don’t know how to measure it. This is new territory, and I don’t like it. It feels like I’m lost in a dark cave,’” says Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Modern Work. But productivity signals across Microsoft 365, like the number of Teams meetings, continue to climb.
Spataro returns to the WorkLab podcast to share key insights from the company’s latest Work Trend Index report . This special report is based on findings from a survey of 20,000 people in 11 countries, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, LinkedIn labor trends, and Glint People Science insights.
He is the first guest for Season 3 of Microsoft’s WorkLab podcast, in which hosts Elise Hu and Tonya Mosley have conversations with economists, technologists, and researchers who explore data and insights into why and how work is changing.
Three big takeaways from this conversation:
Business leaders are experiencing “productivity paranoia.” “There’s a sense amongst management that, ‘Wow, I don’t think we’re as productive as we used to be. We need to get people back so we can get back to the models that I understand and know how to run,” Spataro says. “What we’re going to have to do collectively is recognize that you can be successful in these new emerging patterns of work, you’re just going to have to create new types of visibility.”
Employees and employers are out of step with each other on when and why to go into the workplace. Fully 73 percent of employees and 78 percent of business decision makers say that they need a better reason to go into the office than just company expectations. It's increasingly clear that people come in for each other. “We’ve all tried different things to get people back, but research shows that the number one thing that people say will bring them into the office are their colleagues,” Spataro says. “My team has team Tuesdays or team Thursdays where we’re encouraging people to come in, even when they normally wouldn’t. And one of the reasons that we cite is, hey, this is good for the team.”
It’s increasingly clear that companies need to “re-recruit” their existing employees with more opportunities for learning and growth. Employees consider opportunities to learn and grow to be the number one driver of great work culture , a jump from 2019, when it was ranked number nine. But 55 percent of respondents say that the best way for them to build their skills is to change companies. Spataro notes, “We’re in a world of incredible volatility, and I read the data and it is employees saying, ‘Look, if I’m going to stick with you, you had better be helping me get the skills I need to insulate myself and the people I care about from that volatility. Help me every minute I’m on the job to gain additional value so that I’m going to stay employed.’ That’s what any smart employee is doing right now.”
WorkLab is a place for experts to share their insights and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, the opinions and findings of the experts we interview are their own and do not reflect Microsoft’s own research or opinions.
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Here’s a transcript of the Episode 1 conversation.
TONYA MOSLEY: This is WorkLab , the podcast from Microsoft. And I’m your host, Tonya Mosley. On WorkLab , we hear from leading thinkers on the future of work—economists, technologists, researchers. They all share surprising data and explore the trends transforming the way we work.
JARED SPATARO: It’s people. People who are motivated, people who are empowered with the right tools, and then people who move forward and work with others to create magic. That’s what work is. It is not an office. It is not an org chart. It’s not even a structure.
TONYA MOSLEY: That’s Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro. This week we talked with him about the newly released Work Trend Index report from Microsoft. The report leverages data from 20,000 people in 11 countries, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, LinkedIn labor trends, and Glint’s People Science insights to reveal how leaders can create the kind of culture and employee experience that meet the needs of today’s digitally connected, distributed workforce. Jared walks us through the urgent trends that business leaders need to know and shares actionable insights from his own experience as a leader, both at Microsoft and in his community. Now, here’s my conversation with Jared.
TONYA MOSLEY: Hi, Jared. Welcome.
JARED SPATARO: Hello, Tonya.
TONYA MOSLEY: Last time you were on the podcast, we discussed with you how employees are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work. We’ve been hearing this a lot lately. Also in the news, the Great Reshuffle, as it’s called. What does the latest research tell us about this trend and how workers and companies are handling this new set of priorities?
JARED SPATARO: When I meet with people, the executives in particular, they often want to know what’s going on. You know, they’re kind of trying to get the top line from me. And I often start by saying, ‘You look at your people and they look like the same people to you.’ But over the course of the last two and a half years, they’ve changed tremendously. You know, often if I’m in a room with them, I point to my head and my heart and say, ‘You know what they think has changed and what they feel has changed.’ And as a leader, you have to pause for a moment, recognize that that’s the case, and recognize that you probably don’t know how they’ve changed. You know that they have, but you don’t know how they’ve changed. You’ve got to really re-engage with them to figure out what’s going on with them. And then that leads to a really good conversation about re-recruiting, re-energizing, re-onboarding your workforce. And those are probably some of the most productive discussions I have because I think it gets us all into a mindset to understand this isn’t a ‘get back to work.’ This isn’t like, let’s go back to what we used to have. This is a moment when we kind of regroup and re-recruit.
TONYA MOSLEY: Regroup and re-recruit. This is really interesting because what it also requires is that managers and leaders take a second look. They’re almost wooing their employees as well.
JARED SPATARO: The tightness of the labor market, it varies by country. The United States is one of the tightest labor markets, but the labor market does give employees more power, or has over the last few quarters. Employees have felt that they’ve stretched their wings a little bit, you know, to get a sense for what they can push for. It’s been a very unique time, obviously, because if I just cite one specific that I’ve noticed all around the world, in spring of this year, of 2022, lots of bosses wanted their people to come back, and actually kind of pushed for it. As people came back, many of them got sick with the new strains of the virus that were going around. And so then, uh-oh, the managers have realized we’ve got to take a step back. So there has been this kind of back-and-forth between employees and employers. And in so many ways, as my good friend Nick Bloom from Stanford, likes to say, it’s kind of employees 2, employers nil at this point. We’ve tried to go back twice, and so that has for sure kind of affected employee psyche. And there is a bit of wooing right now. Now, it depends on the industry. I know certain industries, certain countries, that there’s been a bigger push, they’ve been a little bit more successful. But if you were to take it as a whole across the world, I think that employers have had to lean in quite a bit. But what’s interesting is, I’m not sure they have the skills to lean in, nor am I sure that they actually really understand, again, how workers are thinking about work in the context of their overall lives right now.
TONYA MOSLEY: Well, let’s talk about that a little bit more. Let’s deepen this thought. That back-and-forth between employees, employers. You also are finding something else in the Work Trend Index, which highlights something called ‘productivity paranoia‘. What is productivity paranoia?
JARED SPATARO: Well, just as the name sounds. It’s one of my favorite findings because, again, it’s one of these things that we are putting a quantification to that people feel. So it gives it a label, but more than that, it gives it some numbers. And then people get the sense. You know, 87 percent of employees report that they’re productive at work, whether they’re in the office or at home. So in other words, the vast majority of employees are really feeling like, ‘Look, I’m very productive. Things are going well for me.’ But only 12 percent of leaders say that they have full confidence that their team is productive. And in other words, leaders don’t buy it. They’re like, ‘I can’t see it. I don’t know how to measure it. This is a brave new world, but I don’t like it. It feels like I’m kind of groping around in a dark cave.’ That leads to what we have called productivity paranoia. And it’s this sense, largely amongst management, that, wow, I don’t think we’re as productive as we used to be. We need to get people back so we can get back to the models that I know how to run and I know how to understand. But again, the tension here is that employees are like, ‘I never want to go back. Like, now that I recognize that I can get my job done in a different way, going back seems to me to be a step backward for everybody.’
TONYA MOSLEY: This also comes down to trust, doesn’t it? How can managers build that trust while also reworking the ways that they have learned how to manage?
JARED SPATARO: It does, indeed. But I think that many managers, you know, I’ve grown up in in the pre-pandemic world as a manager and as a leader. I think it’s largely been trust but verify, right? I mean, it’s like, can we trust you? But let’s just make sure things are going well. And going forward, you’re exactly right. I think that what we’re going to have to do collectively is to recognize that there are these new emerging patterns of work, and that you can be successful in these new patterns of work. And not only that, you don’t lose visibility. You’re just going to have to create new types of visibility. And I think that’s the enigma to many managers, is they want to understand, how do I build this trust? What do I go and do? For the most part, we’re getting out of activity, being that pure measure of productivity, and instead really pushing companies, firms, managers, even employees to start to measure outcomes. You know, what are the business outcomes? How do you measure those? How do you measure correlative things that allow you to get a sense for whether you’re on your way or if there’s deviation that you have to correct. It’s a new way of thinking about being a manager. It’s a new way of running a company. But as you work together on those things with management, not fully knowing the answer, but again, a back-and-forth, I think that builds trust. But here’s the kicker for me. You have to have enough confidence as a leader to say, ‘I don’t fully know, but we’re going to learn this together. Let’s get going.’
TONYA MOSLEY: There’s also this other component. Employees also need guidance. The latest Work Trend Index shows that 81 percent of employees say that it’s important that their managers help them prioritize their workload. But less than a third, 31 percent, of employees say their managers actually give clear guidance during their one-on-ones.
JARED SPATARO: Yeah, I think that the way to think about it is that increased flexibility, I’m finding as I’m out interacting with customers all around the world in different industries, increased flexibility has real benefits. But in order for flexibility to work, you actually have to put some structure around it. And that in and of itself is a little bit of a mind-blowing concept. Some of that structure gets down to providing clarity on priorities, and a lot of that structure is more than just priorities; it’s showing how what you’re working on today as an employee ladders up to a greater good, a specific greater good. That clarity is valuable because what you’re actually doing is, you’re not only providing motivation for the employee—oh, I can see how I’m contributing to the overall group—but at the same time that you’re doing that, you’re empowering that employee to make good decisions. When they run into kind of ambiguous situations, they can think to themselves, what’s the outcome I’m really trying to drive to and what would get me there? But again, that is an interesting process because we’re getting to a more autonomous, well-informed, learn-it-all type of approach to work. And that’s not the pattern that we’ve been using for decades now. Mostly, we have been doing variations of command and control, and this is a new thing for everyone, no matter what industry you sit in.
TONYA MOSLEY: Command and control. Can you tell us a little about your return to the workplace and how often you’re going back and what lessons you’ve learned so far?
JARED SPATARO: Well, I speak so fluently as if I know what I’m talking about, but I’ll tell you, I’m learning just like everybody else. You know, I’m finding that I’m actually in the office more than I thought I would be. So it’s not uncommon to have me in four days a week. I thought I’d be in more like two. It’s rare that I’m actually in the office all five days a week, but that does happen. But what I’m finding is that I used to think of going to the office as a binary: I’d go in, you know, maybe leave at seven, come home at five or six, kind of the standard workday. But I rarely do that now either. My go-in times are a bit different: sometimes they’re kind of mid-morning, sometimes I don’t come in until about noon. Depending on when I come in, I’m leaving at different times. Those decisions are largely based on what I’m observing with commute. And in fact, we have found all around the world through our qualitative interviews when we ask people, you know, as you think about the friction to get into the office, what keeps you from coming in? Commute rises to the top, and I felt that personally. And so the patterns that I see developing is, you know, minimize my commute, get in there when it’s going to be valuable for me to have face time for different types of activities, and then use the office much more intentionally, as if it’s a tool rather than just kind of like an expectation. Each week is a little bit of a new set where we get to try again.
TONYA MOSLEY: One insight from the Work Trend Index is that younger employees especially are looking to connect with senior leadership and direct managers in person in this way. How can leaders best support millennials and Gen Zers in that need for in-person connection as the way we’re connecting is changing and the fluency and the ways, for instance, that you’re going to the office.
JARED SPATARO: Well, if we back up for a moment, even before I answer the millennial question, you know, the number one thing that people say will bring them into the office is their colleagues. And I thought that that was really interesting. We’ve all tried different things. We’ve tried food. We’ve tried this. And people suddenly come in for food. But colleagues are what bring them in. And then in particular, demographically, as we’ve done different cuts of the data, we have found that folks who are just starting in their career are particularly motivated. And in the qualitative work, we go interview them, they will say to us, ‘I’m learning the craft.’ Like, I desperately want to make sure that I get exposure to people who are good at this job. So what we’re having to do in many ways is, again, put some structure around the flexibility but then start to talk through those objectives with an organization. So the most effective organizations I’ve seen out there have actually recognized, aha, millennials, Gen Z—they have a need to learn how to do the work, and we have a need to ensure that they learn that because it’s crucial to all of our success, not just the future, but they’re an important part of the team right now. We’re going to make an objective that says, yeah, it might not be convenient for all those folks who are more senior in their career to come in, but they’re going to do it to participate in the team, and we’re going to put some structure around what that looks like. So as an example, on some teams, and my team in particular, there are team Tuesdays or team Thursdays where we’re encouraging people to come in, even when they normally wouldn’t. And one of the reasons that you cite is, hey, this is good for the team, and in particular, we’re going to make sure that we have a critical mass of people that are there so that we’re getting the learning. And I think that’s one of the main points that I’ll emphasize as I go back to the data. Seventy-three percent of employees, even 78 percent of business decision makers, say that they need a better reason to go into the office than just company expectations. That’s my sense of what many managers are getting wrong right now. They’re kind of like, because I said so. That doesn’t work very well with teenagers, it doesn’t work very well with adults either. But talking to them about being a part of a team and saying, no, no, there are certain objectives we’re trying to accomplish. Let’s get this done, and here’s how we’ll do it. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you’re going to pitch in for the greater good. I actually see that that’s going much better.
TONYA MOSLEY: Let’s talk a little bit about feedback for a moment. Over half of companies rarely, if ever, seek feedback on their employees’ experiences at work. What can leaders do to ensure that they’re getting the feedback and insights that they need?
JARED SPATARO: Well, I think this is a matter of mindset and tooling, is what I would say. Mindset is the most important. We’ve all been in situations where someone who manages the work that we’re doing, whether we’re doing it for pay or, you know, some place out in the community, kind of doesn’t seem to care about how we feel. And, regardless of how good we feel initially about the enterprise and what we’re trying to do, you can feel that. You can feel like, I’m not sure they really care. That gives you a sense that the firm kind of is moving through you like you’re just a cog in a big machine. It gives you a sense that the organization might not be really as attuned to the mission as they say they are, because if they were, why wouldn’t they learn and want to get better? So it actually causes a lot of people to have all sorts of thoughts. So the first thing that we’re finding, again, as we look at this very unique moment, is you’ve got to have a new mindset. Here at Microsoft, we tend to think of it as being a learn-it-all mindset as opposed to what we call a know-it-all mindset. But it doesn’t matter what you call it. That idea of a growth mindset of saying, ‘I don’t know it all, but I sure want to learn what’s going on. I want to adjust my mental models, I’m going to always listen carefully to the people around me.’ I think that’s the first and biggest thing you can do. Then you get down to tooling processes, you know what that looks like. We have found in previous Work Trend Index studies that it’s really important for people, for instance, to have direct interactions with their managers. That’s one of the most important things to communicate that you care. And then, of course, in those interactions, you have to listen to them very carefully. On top of that, we have ways to do some really interesting things with technology. You can go out on a periodic basis and do pulse surveys, as an example, and just simply ask people 30-, 60-, or 90-second sets of questions about feedback that they might have. The most important thing, I think, is you start with that mindset. You use the tools to build out an overall feeling of, we want to hear from you and we really care. When we hear that, it doesn’t go into a big black box in the sky. We’re going to take some action, we’re gonna try some things, and we probably will succeed in some and fail on others, and we’re going to move forward together as a group. That’s just a magic formula, I think. I mean, that’s what the best teams, regardless of what they’re engaged in, do.
TONYA MOSLEY: This is really interesting, Jared, because you used the phrase ‘showing that we really care,‘ because the research also shows that the authenticity of a manager has a huge impact. And this was really interesting to me because, how do you measure what authentic leadership looks like? And if you feel that your manager is being authentic in their actions when they are calling and doing these different things that we’re talking about.
JARED SPATARO: You know, it’s so interesting for me. I have reflected a lot on the rise of the word authentic and authenticity . It’s all over the place. You know, it’s in popular news, it is in memes. And I think that the heart of it is, first, no one likes to be deceived. And when you feel like you’re being deceived in some way, you know, like you’re hiding something from me, you’re not giving me the full story, you immediately pull back from whatever situation you’re in. Number two, it’s quite clear to me right now that what the pandemic has done is it’s taken many of the more formalized structures and norms that we’ve had in society, and it’s punched right through those things, even norms around communication. You know, this is how we communicate out, it’s just the way we do it. It’s punched through those things, and what people want from leaders of any type right now, whether it’s a government leader or a business leader or a community leader, is they really want someone who is saying with integrity what they feel, what they think, who is out there representing themselves, who ensures that that integrity is intact at all times. You’re not getting two different stories depending on what audience you happen to be in. Again, getting back to the core idea, I just think people do not want to be deceived, and there’s so much of deception out there that they’re hungry for a leader who will be direct and honest and straight with them all the time. And that’s hard to do. You know, we have, again, many norms and many cultural manifestations that tend to push us to this place of like, oh, this is what you say, even when it’s a tough situation. So it’s a thing we’re all learning. It’s very clear, from my perspective, from the frequency that we’re seeing, that the usage of the word and the concept that there’s a hunger for it. And I think that that will continue as we have so much information that people are having to sort through.
TONYA MOSLEY: You know, the last time you were on the show, we talked a little about the leadership role that you’ve held in your church. I’m wondering, what are the ways your role in the church has offered maybe a depth and richness to your ability to be an authentic leader?
JARED SPATARO: You know, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work outside of the corporate environment at this time, because I think corporate life is one way to experience what’s happening, but it is just one way. You know, it’s kind of one angle into what’s going on. In my work at church, I have an opportunity to work with all different types of people, from all different types of backgrounds and all different types of situations. People who are suffering from the effects of losing loved ones to the pandemic—not something we talk about a lot at work, but the actual mourning and working through the process of burying someone who has died. I’ve worked through those who have been directly affected because where they work has just been thrown into disarray. And the early part of the pandemic, that has been service industries. Now it’s as these industries kind of reorganize and reorient themselves. So that has been very interesting for me. I get a chance in my work to work with immigrants who are just new to the country and who kind of look around and say, ‘This is the best set of opportunities I’ve ever seen. I want to get to work.’ And so this wide array of touchpoints, I think, gives me more of a feel for what’s really going on at any one time. And when I get the privilege, then, of connecting that to something like the Work Trend Index, where I get to see across tens of thousands of people, it’s both the quantitative trends together with the real human stories. And when you put those two things together, I just think, wow, it just gives me an insight. It gives me an empathy, if I’m honest, and I’d go as far to say, beyond empathy, a love for people. People are trying to do the best they can. I rarely meet people who are out trying to make the world a worse place. And when you see that, I think it allows me to come back into the corporate world and say, all right, let’s all assume that we’re trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got. How do we take that and go pursue our mission together?
TONYA MOSLEY: Right, because what we’re talking about is building trust and relationships, and the way that you’re able to build that muscle in your personal life and in your work life, it all translates. I wanted to talk with you a little bit about career development and prioritizing learning and development. As we talked about earlier, employees are now more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing, and with that, they want opportunities for learning and growth. We’re seeing that it’s the number one driver of a great work culture. But there is a disconnect because the Work Trend Index shows that more than half of those asked, 55 percent, say that the best way for them to develop their skills is to actually change companies. So how can leaders prioritize learning and development to help retain talent?
JARED SPATARO: When I have a new manager on my team, I find the right time and I sit down with them and I say the following: ‘Welcome to management. Can I give you a secret here? Management isn’t about you, and it’s actually not about the company. From the perspective of the people that you manage, it’s all about them, like 100 percent. And the more you are able to meet their needs, the more that they’ll say that you’re a good manager and leader, the more that they’ll be willing to do for you and for the firm. And as quickly as you get that in your mind, you will ever so quickly be able to be effective.’ Then zoom out a moment. Where are we right now? We’re in a world of incredible volatility. And what employees are actually saying, I believe, as I read the data, is they’re saying, ‘Look, if I’m going to stick with you, you better be helping me get the skills I need to insulate myself and the people I care about from that volatility. Help me every minute I’m on the job to gain additional value so that I’m going to stay employed.’ That’s what any smart employee is doing right now. So then we get, once you understand that, you’re in that mindset, then I think you can get down and say, ‘Got it, this is not about you.’ I’m going to give you a couple more training courses and ask you if you’re really happy. Instead, you have to, again, think of how do we make sure that this job creates an environment where you are learning every day, and as you learn, you can personally feel as an employee that, man, I walked out of today and I’m more valuable than I was yesterday. I clearly have some expertise. I have some new skills. Some of that, for sure, is what we’re doing with on-the-job training, just in time, content that’s available for people. It has to do with tools, absolutely important. But I just think that you have to help your people feel like they are navigating the uncertainty of today by investing in themselves. And that’s a very, very different approach towards learning and towards growth because it is all-encompassing. You know, again, it’s not a program where we say, ‘Sure, we helped you learn and grow. Don’t you see, we gave you three courses to take this last quarter.’ Employees are going to balk at that.
TONYA MOSLEY: Jared, I mean, what you’re saying, for some industries, this is really a cultural shift in our definitions of what it means to be a manager.
JARED SPATARO: Boy, it’s a big one, I think, because, again, I guess what I would point to, what all of this conversation helps us see is, in so many ways, what we had been operating under pre-pandemic was just simply the evolution of a command-and-control structure that was set up as a result of the scale and intensity that we developed in our organizations during World War II. I think you can trace it all the way back to that point. That’s when, as a culture, Western culture in particular, but it spread across the world, really learned to organize and mobilize on a grand scale. We took those same ideas and what we learned, and we applied them to business and we’ve been doing that now for decades. This moment, when we look back on the pandemic, will be a hinge point in history because we popped all through that. And we said, ‘Huh, are there new ways to do things?’ And so now if we zero in to, as you were just asking about management, I think what we’re seeing is, yeah, not only are there new ways to organize, that’s going to demand new types of managers and leaders. It’s going to demand them to think differently, mindset wise, about what an organization does, about how they’re empowering their employees. And in general, I think we’re going to find, wait a second, this thing we call work, it’s nothing more or less than people. No matter how much technology you pour into it. It’s people. It’s people who are motivated, people who are empowered with the right tools, for sure, and then people who move forward and work with others to create magic. That’s what work is. That’s the definition. It is not an office. It is not an org chart. It’s not even a structure like we used to think it was. And when we take that lens onto what we’re doing with work, I think, okay, now we’re seizing the day that we have and we have this opportunity to make work better for employees and for employers. But I’ll tell you what, it’s going to take some new leaders and it’s going to take some real bravery in stepping forward into a place that we don’t fully understand yet.
TONYA MOSLEY: What tools can assist for those who are hearing your message for the first time and they really want to impart, they want to get into it right away. What tools can assist in learning and development?
JARED SPATARO: At Microsoft, we have launched a brand new platform, an employee experience platform, that we call Microsoft Viva. And for us, what we’re really trying to do is to put learning and development in the flow of work. That’s the insight that we have right now, that is in this grand scheme that we just explained, but is a very specific thing that you can do. And so, with what we’re doing with Viva, it allows you to take learning and development and skilling and put it in the context of projects that you’re working on. Put it in the context, as an example, of business process that you have to complete. Make it easy for you to bump into something you may not know and then say, ‘I’ve got five minutes to learn more about that.’ And boy, when you need it, you’re more motivated. So, we start from this place of saying, ‘We think we have to turn learning growth development on its head a little bit and bring it to employees when and where they need it.’ And that’s what we’re doing with the Viva platform.
TONYA MOSLEY: I’m so inspired listening to you, Jared. There’s so much uncertainty right now. Tell us something hopeful that you’ve shifted from the latest Work Trend Index research data.
JARED SPATARO: There’s a lot hopeful. You want one thing, but I’m going to give you a couple really quickly. You know, one thing that I have really recognized is that during this very volatile, difficult time, people have made really important, and I think what would be humanistic, decisions. They’ve realized, wait a second, what’s most important to me is my family and friends and the people that I love and my community. Very clear from the Work Trend Index that that has been a shift in their hearts over the course of the last two and a half years. So that’s very hopeful. Number two, they’ve started to align big investments in their lives around those things. We’ve seen people move geographically. Well, where are they moving? They oftentimes, what the media is not reporting, is closer to family, to a place that they feel like is going to be better for their family in some cases. So there’s a lot going on as people kind of align their lives with their priorities. And then as we branch out from there, I’m very hopeful because what I see is, as we experience the emergence of these new leaders and managers, I am quite positive that we have the opportunity to create a better tomorrow for employees and for employers. I mean, the best things I heard in some of my interviews sounded like this: ‘You know what? Over the course of the past two and a half years, it’s been difficult, but I get to eat breakfast with my kids now. I never knew what I was missing. That time that I have is so valuable.’ And that human touch to life, with the ability to take advantage of the flexibility that we’ve all learned about, man, that is priceless. Priceless. And I’m convinced that it will come at no cost to productivity. I actually think if we work together, we can weave these new patterns into the way that we organize ourselves and we can get the best of both worlds.
TONYA MOSLEY: I love this best of both worlds. It is actually that work-life balance that we’ve talked so much about. This moment, what I’m hearing from you, is giving us that opportunity.
JARED SPATARO: It is, indeed. I think we have to seize it. I think it will, in some cases, again, require new leaders, but some people will transform themselves quite well. And that’s what I’m listening for as I interact with customers, as I go around the world. I’m listening for, watching for, those people that recognize we’re not going back to 2019, nor do we want to. Why go back to something that we didn’t think was all that good to start with? Instead, let’s reimagine. Let’s re-recruit. Let’s re-energize. Let’s get ourselves on board to really do something that, when we look back in a couple of decades, we can say, man, that’s when it all changed. When you have those moments in front of you, a real leader I think stands up, recognizes the moment for what it is, and then seizes the day. And I’m looking for those leaders out there.
TONYA MOSLEY: Jared, thank you so much for this conversation.
JARED SPATARO: My pleasure. Thank you so much.
TONYA MOSLEY: Thanks again to Jared Spataro, corporate vice president at Microsoft. And that’s it for this episode of the WorkLab podcast from Microsoft. Please subscribe and check back for the next episode of WorkLab , where my co-host, Elise Hu, will be speaking with Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, about how the economy is affecting the labor market, and the importance of skilling a new workforce. And please rate us, review, and follow us wherever you listen. It really helps us out. If you’ve got a question, we’d love to hear from you. You can drop us an email at email@example.com. And check out the WorkLab digital publication too, where you can find the latest Work Trend Index report, as well as a transcript of this episode. You can find all of that at microsoft.com/worklab. WorkLab is produced by Microsoft and Godfrey Dadich Partners and Reasonable Volume. I’m your host, Tonya Mosley. Our correspondents are Mary Melton and Desmond Dickerson. Sharon Kallander and Matthew Duncan produce this podcast. Jessica Voelker is the WorkLab editor. Thank you for listening.
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