New Future of Work header graphic

The New Future of Work

In March 2020, people across the globe experienced a rapid shift to remote work that upended their existing work practices. Now some are returning to the workplace and work practices are starting to change once again – this time from remote to hybrid. Hybrid work presents a whole new set of questions and challenges: individuals determining the best place for them to do different aspects of their jobs, teams figuring out how to coordinate and make the best use of their in-office time, and groups trying to have effective and inclusive hybrid meetings.

The current moment presents an opportunity to create a new and better future of work that empowers the people who return to working in an office, those that stay remote, and those that find the mix of the two that works for them and their team. Hundreds of researchers from across Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub have come together to form the largest research initiative in Microsoft’s history, called the New Future of Work, and make this new future of work possible.

This site features research from the dozens of studies in the initiative. At the start of this year, we published a large synthesis of what we had learned up to that point. Since then many more peer-reviewed research papers have become available. One research study, published in Nature Human Behavior, for example, found that firm-wide remote work caused the collaboration networks of information workers to become more static and siloed, presenting risks to knowledge sharing and innovation. To help you build on this research and get the most out of remote and hybrid work we’ve created a number of research-backed guides.

Learn more

Microsoft Research summit on October 19-21, 2021. Text on a beige background with a multi-color wheel on the right.

Microsoft Research Summit

The 2021 Research Summit had a whole track dedicated to the New Future of Work – check out research presentations, product demos, Q&As, and more. (Filter by track->New Future of Work)

woman distracted by a leaf blower during a remote meeting

The “Leaf Blower Problem”

Noise cancellation prevents others from hearing your background noise, but you still hear it, making “common ground” with your colleagues more difficult.

Graphic summarizing the CHARMS approach to running hybrid meetings, as outlined in the text below.

Hybrid meetings guide

We draw on pre-pandemic research, what we’ve learned from remote work, and on-going studies of hybrid to offer tips for effective and inclusive hybrid meetings.

The New Future of Work paper

Report on remote work

Paper: Published in January 2021 — A synthesis of findings related to how people’s work practices have evolved since the start of the pandemic.

diagram showing different hybrid work options

What is hybrid?

Remote, flexible, hybrid workers, hybrid teams… The new future of work involves a variety of features and working styles. This short document clarifies some terms.

New Future of Work: photo of two desks back to back


WorkLab is a new Microsoft site that builds on the research here to deliver stories and science-based insights on how to connect more, create more, and unlock ingenuity.