Microsoft India today announced the findings of a special Work Trend Index report focusing on frontline workers, which reveals insights, challenges, and opportunities for frontline workers across industries. The report also provides recommendations to balance business outcomes with the health and wellbeing of employees and highlights the opportunity for technology to help ease the burden on essential workers.
“Over the last two years, our frontline workers have borne the burden of the pandemic like no other segment of the workforce. Even as we continue to endure pandemic uncertainty right now, frontline workers are standing up to the challenge of keeping the wheels of the economy running,” said Rajiv Sodhi, COO, Microsoft India.
“Across our research in the Work Trend Index, there are clear signals about the opportunity to align business outcomes with the wellbeing and growth of frontline employees. It’s encouraging to see that technology can help at this inflection point.” Sodhi added
The Work Trend Index revealed the following trends among frontline workers in India:
A culture of caring is the new currency on the frontline Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella talks about the importance of strengthening the connections between employees, a company’s mission, and their managers. The research shows that the pandemic has strengthened some of these ties, while fraying others.
The pandemic has strengthened ties and frontline workers have turned to each other for weathering this storm together. In India, 86% of frontline workers report that they “feel very bonded to co-workers” because of shared stresses brought on by the pandemic. But their connections to leadership and company culture are weak. Sixty six percent of frontline workers say that leadership does not prioritize building workplace culture—and that jumps to 69% for those in management positions on the frontline such as department heads, store managers, and shop-floor supervisors.
Furthermore, communication isn’t trickling down—or bubbling up. Sixty five percent of frontline workers say messages from leadership don’t make it to them. Things are especially trying for frontline managers (67%) who say their higher-ups are not effectively communicating with them either. At the same time, 17% of frontline workers feel their voice is not being heard when communicating workplace issues.
As companies balance pandemic realities with employee needs, the research shows an opportunity to focus more on the wellbeing of frontline workers. 23% of frontline workers in non-management positions don’t feel valued as employees, and many workers (65%) wish more was being done to help with physical exhaustion or to support mental health (64%).
Most workers surveyed feel more could be done to help supply chain issues (62%) and say that labor shortages are making their jobs especially difficult (64%). As we embark on year three of the pandemic, 41% of frontline workers believe that work stress will either stay the same or worsen in the coming year.
In addition to economic challenges, frontline workers in India cite Covid protocols (44%), high workload (42%), managing the needs of customers (38%), long workdays (38%), and having a fixed work schedule (36%) as the top five reasons for their work-related stress.