Meetings during COVID-19

Established: March 17, 2020



A Socially Intelligent Meetings project

In common with companies around the world, from March in 2020 Microsoft employees entered a prolonged period of mandatory working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We wondered what would happen to employees’ effectiveness and collegiality as all meetings went remote. From April through August 2020 we recruited 849 employees to take part in a large scale study involving two month diaries and weekly polls. This ‘natural experiment’ highlighted the everyday reality of the difference in “being there” as against “being remote” in work situations.

We are now analyzing the data and developing publications and other outputs.



Cite the study:

Sean Rintel, Abigail Sellen, Advait Sarkar, Priscilla Wong, Damian Borowiec, Nancy Baym, Rachel Bergmann. (2020). 2020 Study of Microsoft Employee Experiences in Remote Meetings During COVID-19. Microsoft Research.

The New Future of Work

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Microsoft formed a cross-company initiative to coordinate their efforts to understand the impact of remote work and identifying opportunities to support new work practices. The initiative consists of over 50 research projects, conducted by teams that span a range of disciplines (including engineering, research, marketing, human resources, and facilities) and divisions (including Microsoft Research, Office, Windows, Azure, Xbox, GitHub, and LinkedIn).

The New Future of Work site features the research that has come out of this initiative, including what we believe to be the world’s largest synthesis of findings related to how people’s work practices have evolved since the start of the pandemic. You can think of this site as a place to learn the science behind WorkLab, which Microsoft recently launched to share compelling stories and research-based insights about the changing nature of work. Stay tuned as we add more peer-reviewed research papers and other scholarly content.


WorkLab is a new digital publication devoted to illuminating the future of work, grounded in research and the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Project members

Previous project members

  • Portrait of Priscilla Wong

    Priscilla Wong

    Research Assistant