Workloads are crushing managerial spirit

A
new survey published last week, paints a grim picture of managerial life in the
UK, reports Mike Berry

The
Business Energy Survey, conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and
recruitment consultancy Adecco, found UK businesses are failing to understand
the wants and needs of their managers, and that workplace ‘energy’ was dropping
to dangerously low levels.

The
survey assessed the attitudes and motivations of 1,500 managers, and shows that
the volume of work has adverse effects on employee energy levels. More than a
third admitted to having no energy on weekday evenings because of work, while a
fifth use the weekend solely to recover from work.

A
separate survey by recruitment firm Office Angels, also published last week,
shows that staff are having to put in extra hours before going on holiday – and
it then takes three days to wind down before they start enjoying themselves.

A
third said the days before a holiday were among the most stressful of the year,
and four in five employees felt as tired and stressed by the end of their first
week back as they did beforehand.

However,
according to the CMI/Adecco survey, managers seem happy to work these extra
hours, providing they feel a sense of purpose in their work and are helped to
achieve their goals. Only 12 per cent see pay as the main motivator.

Richard
Macmillan, managing director of Adecco, says: “The research does highlight that
energy levels among UK managers are dangerously low. However, it’s clear that
employees are not afraid to work at this level providing their ideas are heard
and they can be made to feel valued.”

Petra
Cook, head of policy at the CMI, echoes this view. She says companies need to
start listening to their workforces.

“There
is too much focus on input rather than output. Organisations are still too
concerned with how much time people spend at their desks.”

If
there is a positive to be drawn from the survey, Cook says it shouldn’t take
much for organisations to put the problem right.

“Pay
is not the real issue. The survey shows managers are willing to work long
hours, providing their company develops flexible ways of working.

“We
have to drive the message home that this old-fashioned culture is not good. Businesses
can’t continue to ignore this – they must look at the growing, dynamic
organisations in the UK for best practice,” she says.

Cook
also believes the emphasis can also be put back on to managers, with them
looking more closely at basic time management skills.

Mary
Chapman, chief executive of the CMI, says it’s easy to see why frustrations
exist among managers.

“Part
of the problem lies in senior management believing one thing about morale, when
those closer to the coalface have vastly different experiences.

“It’s
only when people begin to feel a close and meaningful involvement with their
organisation that they bring energy, enthusiasm and passion to their work,” she
says. “And when that happens, the end result is often seen as greater drive and
results.”

Listening
to your staff, it seems, is the key. Adecco’s Macmillan reinforces this message
for employers.

“By
listening to and embracing new ideas, companies can retain their best staff and
build a reputation that attracts new talent,” he says.

Comments are closed.