Poor management leads to Dickensian workplaces

Economic turbulence and poor management are creating Dickensian workplaces
characterised by long hours culture and staff stress, claims a report released
last week.

The Management Agenda 2002 by Roffey Park suggests closures, cost-cutting,
redundancies, outsourcing and management delayering are contributing to role
ambiguity and job insecurity.

Nearly 60 per cent of the 400 managers surveyed claim their organisation has
a culture of "presenteeism", where they feel under pressure to stay
in the office longer than their contracted hours.

Nine out of 10 work an extra hour a day and a fifth spend an extra 15 hours
a week, or more, at work to keep on top of their work.

Linda Holbeche, director of research at Roffey Park, said: "Greater
emphasis on performance, with a lack of management vision and consultation
combine to create an image of work conditions psychologically reminiscent of
Dickensian sweatshops."

Over 70 per cent of respondents are suffering stress due to an inadequate
work-life balance, with long-term employees being worst affected.

"Staff shortages and fear of burn-out due to the pressure of
maintaining high performance levels add to stress," said Holbeche.

Political wrangling within businesses is also rife and can distract staff
from focusing on performance, claims the report.

Lack of trust between colleagues and with senior management is endemic in
organisations, which acts as a barrier to productivity.

Holbeche said: "In many organisations, employees make more effort to
preserve their position than achieve high performance. Senior managers can
counter this by acting as role models and by creating an office climate with no
hidden agendas."


By Mike Broad

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