a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer

When change is the new normal: New research into the future of work

Johanna Winqvist

Johanna Winqvist

Microsoft, Modern Workplace

Read Time, 3 min.

The pace of change in the modern workplace is relentless. Not a week goes by that a new digital innovation or technologically driven approach emerges to disrupt and influence our workplace status quo.

And yet, despite these emerging innovations, our capacity to move with the times and stay abreast of these changes remains very much human. As Dr Michael Parke of the London Business School notes: “The process of adopting new behaviors in a workplace still moves at a human’s pace.”

That’s why Microsoft has worked in partnership with the London Business School and KRC Research to explore the future of work. Looking at the intersection of culture, leadership and technology in workplaces across Western Europe, When change is the new normal reveals news research based on findings from 9,000 employees across 15 markets that will help ambitious and forward-thinking business navigate this new era of digital transformation in the workplace.

Key insights into the future of work

For businesses, having the right organisational structures in place to be able to adapt to change is essential to achieving the competitive advantage needed to succeed in this exciting new era.

And the work culture we promote is the glue that binds these structures together.

The business leaders that contributed to our study identified cultural change as their number one priority. And did you know that companies with highly innovative cultures are more than twice as likely to expect double-digit growth?

But the benefits of an established organisational culture isn’t limited to the bottom line – it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent. Our study found that 86% of employees in highly innovative cultures want to stay in their jobs. That’s a huge increase on lower-innovation workplaces, where only 57% of employees are happy in their jobs.

So what are these highly innovative companies doing that makes them so attractive and successful?

What innovative companies do better 

Success in the future of work is about more than your product, your USP or your capacity to disrupt. It’s about the approach you take around three key areas.

1. Enhance collaboration by tearing down silos

Our study found that highly innovative companies prioritise collaboration within and between teams, as well as with external partners. And technology plays a huge role in this. 61% of employees in companies that make extensive use of the right collaboration technology say that it’s easy to work together – compared to just 29% of those with no such tool or platform.

2. Empower teams to say and act how they feel

We all need to feel that our voice can be heard, and the workplace is no different. Innovative organisation cultures empower their people to feel that they can speak up with confidence, saying what they see and think – and not being afraid to make a mistake. And it’s not just finding a voice that appeals, it’s also about flexibility. 73% of employees in innovative cultures say their teams can choose the way they work.

3. Creating a meaningful workplace

We all like to feel that the work we’re doing is meaningful. So it’s incredible that many employees feel that 52% of their time is wasted on emails, meetings and other distractions. There is so much untapped potential for businesses to promote the correct flow in the workplace – and employees rate themselves as up to three times happier when they are in a flow state.

Report: Work Reworked

Discover what the future of work looks in this guide to help you navigate the digital era.

Education

  • a young boy using a laptop computer

    Escolaglobal: a digital-first school for blended classroom and remote learning

    “This weekend, our preschool teachers created another video for the students – just saying hi and checking everyone was ok at home. Each teacher has their own Microsoft Stream channel, and the feedback from the kids and parents is amazing: “Hi, teacher! How are you? I remember you so well!” Nuno Moutinho, CEO of Portuguese […]

  • a person sitting on a chair in a room

    Bridging the education gap in challenging times

    Across the globe, teachers, students and parents are dealing with a new reality: how to adapt to an educational environment that has moved from the classroom to the internet. As in many countries, the remote Faroe Islands, more than 300 kilometres off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, has found the lives of […]

Government

  • Ineco

    Ineco improves employee productivity with modern tools and AI

    Struggling with software doesn’t help people get more done. Likewise, if sharing files and collaborating on documents is difficult, productivity takes a hit. Ineco, a Spanish public sector company, understands this, which is why it set out to change the way employees interact with technology and one another. By deploying Microsoft 365 to its over […]

  • a group of people performing on stage in front of a crowd

    City of Liège: Facilitating decision making in difficult times

    For many organizations, social-distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 have drastically slowed day-to-day operations – and for some, even stopped them altogether. But for local governments across Europe, like the Belgian city of Liège, slowing down hasn’t been an option.  From supporting citizens and businesses to protecting frontline workers, Liège city had to quickly provide stability during this crisis and ensure important decisions could still be made in a democratic […]

Healthcare

  • a woman standing in front of a screen

    Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta: providing essential patient care from a distance

    “Telehealth was a technology we’d been planning to implement for a couple of years. But then almost overnight everything changed – it became a must-have platform the hospital needed today.” Francesca De Giorgi, CIO of Italian research hospital IRCCS Carlo Besta, reflects on the recent challenges her team faced when social distancing measures imposed by […]

  • Healthcare professionals operating on a patient

    Maasstad Hospital: Working as one medical team during a crisis

    In times of crisis, an organization looks to its leadership for guidance. As COVID-19 spread through Europe in early 2020, Maasstad Ziekenhuis Hospital CEO Peter Langenbach had planned to lead his hospital’s crisis response as he would any other – being present and visible, leadership traits instilled in him during his time in the Dutch […]

Manufacturing

  • Mais on a sunny day

    COFCO International: How cloud technologies ensured business continuity during challenging times

    “I have worked at COFCO for 12 years, always in an office. But I have spent the last 63 days working from home.” Marcus Seelbach, Chief HR Officer at global agribusiness COFCO International, is talking from his home via video call about the transition he and all his colleagues have undergone since COVID-19 led to the closure of the company’s offices worldwide. “But thanks to the preparation and […]

  • a woman smiling for the camera

    Etex Group: Future-proofing employees to work anywhere across the world

    When COVID-19 spread across Europe in early 2020, businesses entered a new digitally-dependent age. Social distancing measures had asked offices of all shapes and sizes to close their doors, sparking organizations to quickly find other virtual ways for colleagues to meet and collaborate remotely. But for Belgium building material specialist Etex, this was a step they were ready for – having already implemented a cloud-based infrastructure and collaboration tools […]

Retail