In the spring of 2020, the daily work routine of all those who work in offices changed by 180 degrees: Home office was on the agenda and this was unfamiliar and new for most employees and leaders. In the meantime, it is possible to work in the office again as usual and many leaders demand this, but employees often refuse to do so.


What is productivity paranoia?

A new buzzword in this context is productivity paranoia, which is attributed to supervisors who fear that employees are not as productive when working remotely. What exactly is meant by this? In the summer of 2022, Microsoft surveyed around 20,000 employees in 11 countries to find out how productivity is faring with current hybrid working models. The results of the survey:

  • 87% of employees say they are productive even with hybrid work models.
  • 85% of leaders say that the shift to increased hybrid collaboration makes it difficult to trust employees in their productivity.


In addition, the research found that the number of hours worked, weekly meetings, overlapping deadlines & co increased significantly, raising the question for leaders and managers: How productive are my employees really? 👉 Productivity paranoia.


The pitfalls of hybrid working

The first look at the survey results honestly doesn’t shed a good light on hybrid working – but as always, it’s worth taking a closer look. Most leaders are used to observing their employees in the office and self-assessing how much or how intensively they work, whereas this is not so easy with hybrid collaboration: it requires more communication!


According to Microsoft’s survey (2022), only 43% of their employees get feedback at least 1x a year, with 75% of employees and 80% of managers finding it too infrequent. Not only does the lack of feedback and an open exchange cause employee retention to suffer, but also the relationship between employees and leaders – and thus trust.


To benefit from hybrid collaboration, there needs to be top-down clarity about the goals and priorities in the company. This requires transparent and effective communication. Then it is subsequently irrelevant from which location work is done, since the tasks and their relevance for the team or company success are comprehensible.


Productivity through clarity

In order to increase trust in productivity, it is important to ensure greater clarity, and for this Microsoft (2022) recommends the introduction of objectives and key results, the establishment of a culture of openness and appreciation, as well as regular exchange in the form of feedback or coaching.


We can only emphasize these 3 measures and share with you our Leaders21 tips for more clarity and trust in everyday work:

  • Use regular check-ins with your team or individual employees to inform you about the status of projects and prioritize the right tasks.


  • Set up feedback talks every quarter to exchange ideas with your manager, employees or colleagues. It is important that the feedback is mutual and that private topics, such as family challenges, may also be addressed.


  • Plan strength and development meetings every year so that you know the goals and interests of your employees and can support them accordingly and distribute tasks sensibly.


  • Strengthen trust by refraining from micromanagement and setting an example of openness and appreciation for your colleagues.


Say goodbye to productivity paranoia and trust in your team, because the new type of collaboration needs new ways to manage responsibilities and support employees in their productivity!