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Learn to improve the wellbeing of your workforce

Posted: 11/05/17 by Chartered Management Institute

Do you find your staff, particularly your managers are often working long hours but not getting much completed on time? Or they are often rushed and looking exhausted?

Patrick Woodman, Head of Research at the CMI, said: “Mental Health Awareness Week should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of tackling the causes of stress in the workplace. Stress can cause both illness and physical and emotional exhaustion. Our recent research found that the average manager in the UK works an extra 29 days over the course of a year, with over half of managers saying their working hours have a negative impact on their stress levels.

“Employers must improve the wellbeing of their workforce. It’s often the case that bad managers are one of the main causes of stress in the workplace. Good, skilled managers know they need to switch off and allow their employees to do the same. Tackling the ‘always on’ culture of constantly checking emails on smartphones and tablets out of office hours, as well as championing inclusive working cultures will have a positive impact on the workplace. Helping employees strike the necessary work/life balance must be a priority in facing up to the challenge of improving workplace stress.”

Research from Chartered Management Institute’s Quality of Working Life study found:

  • Of the 1,574 managers surveyed, nearly seven in ten (77%) work for at least an additional hour each day, adding up to an extra 29 days over the course of a year. With average holiday entitlement only 28 days, this extra time cancels out managers’ annual leave.
  • Up to 10% put in more than three extra hours each day, the equivalent of working a 15-month year.
  • 54% of managers agree that long working hours are leading to elevated levels of stress.
  • 61% of managers blame technology for their increased hours as they find it harder to switch off, with one in five managers reporting that they are ‘always on’ and check emails all the time.
  • Those struggling to switch off report lower personal productivity levels and experience more stress.
  • Managers’ report a link between working longer hours and suffering from increased headaches, irritability and insomnia, early symptoms of mental health problems and potential burn out.
  • Effective management is found to be a key factor in handling stress in the work place.
  • The worst management styles are shown to generate up to four times more stress than the best: 28% of those reporting that their line managers are “secretive” or “suspicious” feel stressed, compared to just 7% of those who believe their managers empower them to take their own decisions.

CMI’s recommendations for improving the quality of working life

  1. Improve the ability to manage change – 97% of managers’ report some degree of organisational change, yet just a fifth see a connection with improved decision making. Focusing on behaviours and measuring the impacts of change are crucial in tackling this leading cause of stress.
  2. Develop better line managers – Line managers have a critical role to play in driving employee engagement. More open, empowering management styles are connected with lower levels of stress, higher job satisfaction and greater personal productivity
  3. Switch off – Avoiding digital presenteeism means giving colleagues the license to switch off. Colleagues can often be their own worst enemies, and while personal choice is key, options such as restricting remote access should be considered.
  4. Empower your people – The most power drivers of job satisfaction are a personal sense of achievement. Where innovative, entrepreneurial and empowering management styles are found, more than 84% of managers are satisfied with their jobs.
  5. Improve well-being - People are not assets to be driven to destruction, it is important to monitor metrics such as morale and illness to identify destructive habits.
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