Dr. Shamsi Iqbal

Microsoft Research
The Future of Work: Why Balancing Productivity and Wellbeing is Important for Empowering Individuals

Description: As our work environments and work practices rapidly evolve as a result of the changing landscape of work, what we envision as the future of work is being fundamentally challenged. Research in the area of productivity and multitasking has to adapt to the changing world anticipating what the future may look like – in particular taking into account growing needs of balancing work and life. In this session, I will talk about redefining productivity for the new future of work, where many organizations are switching to hybrid. In hybrid scenarios, the need to do things while on the go or while in divided attention scenarios will continue to dominate and where taking care of wellbeing will rapidly become a core necessity for sustained productivity. I will discuss strategies of how thoughtful design of tools and products can promote wellbeing, even when the core functionality of the tool is not about wellbeing, and what organizations should be doing to adapt to a successful future of hybrid work.


Dr. Shamsi T. Iqbal is a Principal Researcher in the Productivity and Intelligence group (P+I) in Microsoft Research, Redmond. Her primary expertise is in the domain of Attention Management and Interruptions. More recently her work has focused on redefining productivity, introducing novel ways of being productive through leveraging micro-moments and balancing productivity and well-being in interaction design. Shamsi’s research related to the Future of Work has been covered in the Economist, the Atlantic, and the Technology Review Germany in recent times. Her work on driving and distraction was featured in the New York Times, MIT Tech Review among others, and also covered by the King 5 News (NBC affiliate in the Seattle area). Shamsi has served on many organizing and program committees for Human-Computer Interaction conferences, is currently serving as an ACM TOCHI Associate Editor, Guest Editor for IEEE Pervasive Special Issue on Future of Work and was the General Co-chair for UIST 2020. She is one of the co-authors of the document Microsoft released on the Future of Remote Work in 2021. Shamsi received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008 and Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 2001.

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