WHAT: In a study reported by Nature Human Behavior in September 2021, communication and collaboration were studied among information workers who worked entirely remotely. By analyzing communication between 60,000 employees at Microsoft, the researchers could see that employees tended to communicate more and more often with colleagues in the same team or department, but that they had less or no contact with colleagues who were in other parts of the organization. The researchers conclude that this can lead to less innovation as a result of spontaneous meetings across departmental boundaries and that employee well-being can be negatively affected.
SO WHAT: An implication of the study could be that the office may play an important role in creating contact between employees who do not work directly together. This in turn will mean that offices will need to be designed based on flows and interaction, rather than traditional workplaces and storage of people during working hours. New collaboration tools must be developed not only in the office but also in general to enable the flexible and hybrid working life.