Managers are struggling with increased workloads

“This increase in workload for managers is negatively impacting their wellbeing and engagement, as well as overall company culture”

Almost half of U.K. managers (46 per cent) report that their responsibilities have increased since COVID, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) finding it more difficult to stay positive at work. These are the findings of a report,* which collected and analysed the perspectives of over 36,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and business executives from 20 countries around the world, including 4,653 from the U.K.

The report reveals that the new responsibilities and expectations placed on managers over the past few years has resulted in many succumbing to stress and burnout. In fact, 39 per cent of U.K. employees report that their direct managers seem stressed.

“This increase in workload for managers is negatively impacting their wellbeing and engagement, as well as overall company culture” says Robert Ordever, European MD of O.C. Tanner. “They are expected to do far more but with the same if not fewer resources, and eventually something has to give and it’s all too often their mental health.”

The report highlights that the main managerial tasks taking up more time since COVID are project and team meetings (36 per cent of managers report an increase). This is followed by management meetings (35 per cent) and training and mentoring (32 per cent). Despite these additional tasks, 18 per cent of U.K. managers admit that they are finding it more difficult to receive support from senior leaders.

Ordever says, “Managers are stretched far too thinly these days, with meetings and mentoring occupying more time than ever before. Leaders must recognise this and find ways to ease their burden.”

The Culture Report recognises that while it may not be possible for an organisation to ease every managers’ workload, managers can be provided with a robust support network where they can seek advice, ask for help and share best practice. They can also be made to feel valued and appreciated. In fact, 64 per cent of U.K managers agree that receiving more recognition for their work would improve their employee experience, with leaders and managers who work in organisations with a culture of recognition, having a 38 per cent reduced chance of developing anxiety.

Ordever adds, “Managers need support and recognition just as much as any employee. This must be given regularly and authentically, with appreciation integrated into everyday culture so that it flows in all directions. Managers will then feel part of a caring workplace community in which their contributions are continually seen and valued.”

*O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report

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