Microsoft scientist on impacts of remote work during COVID

Jaime Teevan joined the show to talk about how we can promote sustainable productivity from home or the workplace. #newdaynw

More than two years into the pandemic, more people are starting to return to the workplace. That has presented workers with a new, unique set of challenges.

Microsoft Chief Scientist Jaime Teevan joined New Day NW to talk about the impacts of remote work and what it could mean for work going forward.

According to Teevan, about a third of workers shifted completely to remote work overnight. This sort of large shift in the way people work forced quick adaptation, from conference rooms to Zoom calls and from business casual to pajama bottoms.

“We figured out how to handle the transition from work to home or home to work, even though we’re not changing our location,” Teevan said.

Separating the work environment from the home environment proved to be a formidable challenge for many. Remote workers often found themselves overworked and dealing with burnout.

“We did see a lot of challenges around burnout and well-being as we were figuring out remote work, but now that we’re able to lean into those benefits, we’re seeing that there’s a lot you can get from being at home .”

Out of the necessity of remote work blossomed a newfound appreciation for self-care and mental well-being. For example, Teevan said that compared to before the pandemic, 53% of employees are valuing mental health and well-being above work.

Now that people are starting to go back to the office, there are many things they cherish about remote work — like the flexibility — that they aren’t so eager to let go of.

“We’ve got two years of learning under our belt about remote work,” Teevan said. “There’s a lot that we can bring forward with that, and that we don’t want to give up.”

For Teevan, that’s being able to wear sweatpants during work hours, or being able to walk her dog between meetings. There is a lot of freedom that comes with working from home and many offices are attempting to adapt from only in-person work to a hybrid work model.

Teevan said there are a few ways to make the best out of the hybrid work situation. The first is to make sure you’re being intentional about the way you work.

“Make sure you’re using in-person time for connections,” Teevan said. “And using the remote time for focus and flexibility.”

The second is to rethink your schedule. Teevan said to not have to the same schedule or goals at home, as you would in the office. While working remotely is more centered around what you need, working in-office can be catered more to the needs of your teammates.

The third way to make the best out of the hybrid situation is to take what you love about remote work and bring it to the office. For Teevan, this means even when people are meeting in person, she has Teams open so that the people who are working remotely can join in, and feel a part of the group.

The transition back to in-person or hybrid work is a difficult one — but hopefully, it can bring about some much-needed changes to the in-person system.

Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on Contact New Day.

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