Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

New research finds managers bearing brunt of worker wellbeing crisis

UK managers taking on a greater mental load as business leaders apply pressure

Research from Perkbox, the global benefits and rewards platform, reveals 73% of managers are being asked to do more with fewer resources. This is hurting their health, with over half (59%) reporting their mental wellbeing has been impacted as a result. 

The new guardians of wellbeing

Providing personal support is becoming part of managers’ day-to-day jobs, with almost nine in 10 (88%) admitting to feeling responsible for their team’s wellbeing. 

This comes as nearly two-thirds (62%) say their teams increasingly need advice on non-work related issues, such as the cost-of-living crisis. Now, with economic issues being so prevalent, 72% of managers say they are more concerned for the financial wellbeing of their team members.

This additional mental load for managers is coming at a cost. Not only do 59% say their own mental wellbeing has been impacted, but nearly half (49%) admit they now have a reduced capacity to care for their own wellbeing.

Managers forced to ‘wing it’ as they experience job creep

Conditions in the workplace have not adjusted to accommodate this expanded role for managers. In fact, 57% of managers say that increased pressure from business leaders has made it much more difficult to support their team’s wellbeing, while 45% say they feel powerless to better protect their team due to lack of training and adequate tools from their employer. In response, managers have taken it upon themselves to upskill and adapt to what’s now needed of them. Nearly four fifths (77%) have developed new skills and competencies to fulfil their expanded managerial role. 

A strengthened culture has emerged 

However, managers’ expanded job roles have come with some clear benefits. Close to two thirds (65%) of managers say their relationship with their team has improved due to their expanded role. What’s more, 61% now believe looking after their team’s wellbeing should be their responsibility — showing that the post-pandemic attitude to employee care is here to stay. 

Doug Butler, CEO of Perkbox, commented: “In the past year, the pressure placed on managers has quietly been growing; they’re expected to maintain performance, during an extremely difficult economic period, whilst somehow also safeguarding the wellbeing of those they manage. Business leaders and HR teams cannot let this go unrecognised. Only when proper frameworks and tools are in place  will managers be able to support all facets of their team’s needs, without sacrificing their own wellbeing.”