Cartoon of a leader directing three employees to a dead end cliff.
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Microsoft Index: 54pc of Irish workers feel leadership is out of touch

8 Jun 2023

One-fifth of workers say they use AI tools in their job. Of those who do not currently use AI, a quarter said they would like to.

The latest Work Trends Index by Microsoft Ireland has indicated that although workers are mostly happy, a significant portion feel disconnected from workplace culture and disillusioned by leadership and overwhelming tasks.

Microsoft Ireland asked 700 Irish workers about their attitudes to various aspects of working life. More than three-quarters (77pc) said they are happy at work, while 66pc said they have the right work-life balance.

However, more than half (51pc) of hybrid workers feel their workplace culture has deteriorated since they began working remotely. Hybrid workers also reported having fewer work friendships (55pc), finding it more difficult to build trust (53pc) and feeling lonelier at work (45pc).

To a lesser extent, struggling to stay motivated and not being able to keep up with what is happening within their organisation were also concerns for remote and hybrid workers.

However, it was not all negative for these workers. The percentage of participants who struggle to disconnect from work reduced year-on-year from 31pc in 2022 to 22pc in 2023.

Workplace culture is the number one priority for workers in Ireland, with 67pc of all respondents – remote, hybrid and in-office  ­­– saying it is their top must-have. Health and wellbeing (50pc) was second, followed by flexibility (44pc).

Despite most feeling happy at work, a lot of respondents (54pc) feel their leadership team is out of touch, while 56pc said they would consider changing jobs this coming year.

A lack of confidence in leadership, wellbeing challenges, lack of professional recognition and work-life balance were the main reasons why workers changed roles in the last 12 months.

As well as cultural struggles, some workers said they had difficulties around productivity. More than half (55pc) reported not having enough time to complete their work or enough focus time (49pc). More than one-third of workers (36pc) feel they have too many meetings, and 42pc say they spend too much time searching for the right data.

When it comes to virtual meetings, however, the results highlight a mostly positive sentiment with 63pc feeling that they are given equal opportunities to contribute, 56pc feeling their presence is generally necessary, and 44pc feeling that meetings are a good use of their time.

One-fifth of workers (21pc) say they are now using artificial intelligence (AI) tools in their job. Of those who do not currently use AI, a quarter said they were interested in doing so.

“Our latest Work Trends Index provides invaluable insights for all leaders and people managers into the workplace experience across all sectors in Ireland and the drivers behind why workers are motivated to seek new positions,” said GM of Microsoft Ireland, Anne Sheehan.

“This year, the results have highlighted that we are still grappling with new ways of working and struggling to keep up with the pace of work. While there is positive news that workers are feeling happy at work and have an improved work-life balance, there is a sense of a growing divide between the workforce and senior leaders, and a feeling of disconnection with their organisation’s culture – particularly among hybrid workers.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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