How can managers best support their team members in the hybrid era? It’s increasingly clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will suit everybody. The ideal way to work will be different for each worker.

Dr. David Rock is the co-founder and CEO of the NeuroLeadership Institute, a cognitive science consultancy. He’s also the author of four books, including the business bestseller Your Brain at Work . He believes that what employees are feeling most acutely in this “chaotic working time” is that they’re not in control. They want to exert power over where they work and how they work, but many are struggling to navigate these uncharted waters.

Sixty-one percent of workers surveyed in Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index Pulse Report identified “social interaction” as a primary benefit of coming to the office. But the exact same percentage said that ditching their daily commutes was a top reason to work from home. Dr. Rock shares many practical and actionable tips for managers. His key message: offer as much flexibility as possible while fostering a greater sense of autonomy, and you can help employees feel motivated—no matter where they prefer to work.

Also in this episode: Joe Whittinghill, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for talent, learning, and insights talks about Microsoft’s managerial framework called Model, Coach, Care.

WorkLab is a place for experts to share their insights and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, the opinions and findings of the experts we interview are their own and do not reflect Microsoft’s own research or positions.

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Here’s a transcript of the Episode 5 conversation.

61%: Flexibility, Autonomy, and Managing Through Hybrid

Elise Hu (Host), Dr. David Rock (Guest), Mary Melton (Correspondent), Joe Whittinghill (Guest)


ELISE HU: This is WorkLab , the podcast from Microsoft. I’m your host, Elise Hu. This show is a place where we will hear from leaders and scientists about the surprising research and data that are transforming the way we work.

DAVID ROCK: A lot of organizations are really fearful about culture, they’re seeing turnover going up, people leaving. They’re like, oh my gosh, if we don’t get everyone back in the office, we’re going to keep losing lots of people. But that’s not really the reason they’re losing people.