Managers’ confidence & wellbeing levels are falling

Megan Thompson · November 19, 2020

Coronavirus has created an entirely new world of work. Suddenly we’ve gone from 5.7% of employees working remotely to 43.1% and as we go into a second lockdown managers are facing new challenges. 

We surveyed MDs, directors, CEOs, founders and managers to get deeper insights into how organisations across the UK are coping – and how Covid-19 has impacted their workplace experience.

Where are managers struggling?

Stressed managerWithout the time to plan for remote working or undertake the training to learn new skills, managers have been unexpectedly thrust into a brand new leadership style. But the issues don’t just lie here.

Over 50% of managers have struggled with mental health problems and employee wellbeing concerns since March. Furthermore, 45% of managers have found keeping staff motivated, happy and productive particularly challenging.

Managers are unable to operate to pre-Covid standards without feeling they have confidence and capabilities to lead a team. A lack of control and headspace, with an increase in worries and anxiety has resulted in managers finding it harder than ever to remain motivated, confident and productive.

Managers and directors aren’t on the same page

More than a third of the time spent at work managers don’t feel they have the knowledge they need.

A significant gap between the perspective of CEOs and management indicates that employees are not on the same page. For example, 92% of CEOs believe that their organisation reacted well to Covid-19 from the employees perspective. By comparison, just 72% of managers agreed.

The chances are your organisation has had to make quick, top-level changes in response to the pandemic. But a significant 40% of the time spent at work managers don’t feel they have the knowledge required to complete their tasks. This results in managers facing increased levels of anxiety and reduced performance.

Without managers who feel prepared and informed to complete tasks in the new working world more mistakes will be made. This leaves your business open to risks and long-term challenges if unresolved.

What’s the solution?

Are you guilty of using too much jargon and speaking in language your managers might find confusing? Often this can result in miscommunication with employees. With more managers fearing job insecurity they may be worried about asking for clarification.

Speaking in plain, concrete terms and encouraging openness and feedback and questions is an easy way to ensure managers feel more secure. Furthermore, you’ll find managers and senior leadership starting to pull in the same direction. This will create an environment where managers feel prepared for tasks and confident to deliver on objectives.

Do your managers get the headspace they need?

Busy ≠ productive.

A non-stop working culture is generally less productive. Managers who are overwhelmed and don’t have time to take periodic breaks will be less efficient and struggle to concentrate. But managers agreed that 65% of the time spent at work they think the culture expects them to be continuously busy.

Overwhelmed and under-resourced managers are likely to work through breaks, stay late from work and even log in on weekends. Worse still, it’s now even harder to tell when your managers are overloaded if they’re working remotely.

manager getting headspaceWhen we were based in the office, taking a social break to chat with a work friend was easy. Now, separated across the country, it might feel odd to request a Zoom catch-up without a work purpose behind it.

The bottom line impact this has on your organisation can be staggering if left unresolved. The UK economy lost £34.9bn last year due to stress and the impact of Covid-related stress will undoubtedly ensure that figure rises. Encouraging managers and employees to take some mental headspace could save your business money and reduce the danger of errors or accidents.

Furthermore, you’ll see quick improvements in company culture. For example, 81% of employees who take a daily lunch break have a strong desire to be an active member in their company.

How you can support your managers

It’s a biological requirement to take some time to decompress away from a screen every 90 minutes or so. Encourage your managers to step away from their desks, take a quick walk or sit down for a cup of tea. You’ll find that they come back to tasks feeling more motivated, engaged and productive.

Build breaks into your managers work routines and lead by example. If you discuss the benefits of taking time to clear your head and normalise stepping away to relax your managers will feel comfortable, too.

Offer some virtual social time for remote workers. Try out a Friday happy hour or a coffee morning to get colleagues talking about non-work related topics. Fun weekly team activities are a great way to break the ice and create a comfortable atmosphere where people can relax.

How WeThrive can help

Managers are facing a variety of challenges, and organisations have a legal and moral obligation to provide them with practical wellbeing and mental health support. Discover where the challenges lie for managers in your organisation with WeThrive by using actionable insights from your people’s data.

WeThrive gives you everything you need to quickly launch company-wide or specific team employee engagement surveys followed with concise actions to help managers follow-up quickly post-survey. The actions are linked to bite-size learning and training content for managers. Try it today and in just 7 days you’ll be working with real data on employee needs.

About WeThrive

Employee Engagement, Evolved

WeThrive is the agile employee engagement platform that uncovers how your people truly feel, enabling managers to create highly effective teams, increase employee retention and employee wellbeing and deliver better business results.