To continue reading please register or login to your OHW+ account.
Faced with pressures from above and cries of help from below, managers have been the unsung heroes of the pandemic. Firms are waking up to the benefits of offering them targeted wellbeing support, reports Jo Faragher.
Most people are familiar with the analogy of putting on one’s own oxygen mask before looking after others. For line managers looking after teams during the pandemic, this could not be more relevant.
The challenges they have faced and continue to face are legion: having to manage people remotely, dealing with questions about new working arrangements, hearing stories about family illness and isolation – all while being expected to meet their own targets and juggle their own domestic and work situations. For this reason, should organisations be more deliberate about how they support their managers?
“We often forget that managers are employees too and that they have their own struggles,” says Andrew Heath, CEO of employee engagement platform WeThrive. “This is uncharted territory for everyone so it’s a big ask to expect line managers to cope with some of the things they’ve faced in the past 18 months.” WeThrive’s own engagement data from clients has shown that managers as a group often suffer lower levels of wellbeing than those in other roles.
One of the biggest challenges facing managers is that they will often be working outside their remit. “It’s a perfect storm,” says clinical and business psychologist Dr Rebecca Holt, from Working Mindset, “because as humans we crave predictability, consistency and a clear plan. Managers are facing a host of challenges they’ve never had to deal with before. Many won’t have the training in managing mental health, and will be worried about saying the wrong thing.”
At the s