National Stress Awareness Day: UK Employees Say Their Managers Aren’t Supportive Enough

Wednesday 07 November 2018
A Lack of Flexibility and Micro-management Are Qualities of an Unsupportive Boss.
Stressed at work

A third of UK employees think their managers aren’t supportive enough, according to a new survey from YouGov and payroll supplier MHR.

Researchers spoke to 1,174 UK employees about company culture, work/life balance and job satisfaction. They found those who felt they lacked the support to do their jobs properly blamed rigid hours; a lack of flexible working practices; and micro-management imposed by their bosses.

The findings are concerning because earlier this year the CMI linked unsupportive management styles to negative mental health outcomes. The CMI called on business leaders to adopt “open” and “empowering” working relationships to reduce stress at work.

This is How Managers Can Reduce Employees’ Stress

The CMI’s Quality of Working Life research also suggested that flexible working could boost mental health.

In the YouGov survey, the 63% of employees who felt supported by their managers praised benefits such as flexible hours and the freedom to manage their own schedules.

There are different ways to implement flexibility. Autonomy over working hours and tasks was a common feature of The CMI/Glassdoor top 20: an annual list of top-performing UK companies with great leadership and cultures. At Facebook managers are self-nominated, while Auto Trader prioritises a flat organisational structure where employees “act as owners of the business”.

Managers Are Also Suffering

Of course, managers are also facing their own pressures at work. The latest Quality of Working Life statistics put the amount of unpaid overtime at 7.5 hours per week for a team leader – and this equates to 44 days per year. This is largely caused by individuals failing to switch off when leaving the office: 61% of managers think new technology makes it difficult to unwind, while one in five say they check their email “all the time”.

Read more about work stress and solutions in the full Quality of Working Life report.

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