What the ‘triple peak day’ productivity trend means for employee comms

Microsoft researchers have observed more remote employees returning to work late at night. Is this a red flag or a sign of workers adopting workdays that best suit their lives?

Traditionally, most conceive of the workday as taking place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which likely results in two productivity peaks — one in the morning and afternoon. But the pandemic and the rise of remote work shook up many people’s working hours as they navigated not having a commute, different facets of childcare and/or caregiving and more. According to Microsoft Research, this has created a rise in the “triple peak day,” with some employees resuming work between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m.

The research, which studied 50 consenting Microsoft employees for four weeks, defines these productivity peaks by using a total number of keyboard events. Research from Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index previously found that the workday span for the average Microsoft Teams user has increased more than 13% since March 2020, as have after-hours (28%) and weekend work (14%).

This extension — or evolution — of the workday raises the question of how employers should react. “This [third] peak is different from the other two peaks because it raises the question, ‘Is this about flexibility, or is it about work encroaching on someone’s personal hours?’” says Shamsi Iqbal, a principal researcher of productivity and intelligence at Microsoft Research and Microsoft Viva Insights.

Read the rest of this story at  Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Insider, a destination for leaders in HR, wellness and communications. For more information, contact kaceyl@ragan.com. 


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