Managers – are you affecting your employee’s mental health?

Did you know that management style is one of the main causes of work-related mental health problems?

Despite having a legal duty to recognise and acknowledge their people’s poor mental health, managers can sometimes unknowingly add to the issue. Wondering if you’re one of them? Consider the three key questions below…

1. Are you piling on the workload?

With the pandemic pushing firms to make redundancies, reduce hours and put staff on furlough to survive financially, businesses are unsurprisingly thin on the ground meaning those still working have seen an increase in their workload.

While some staff may seem happy to help, it’s important to be aware that the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population, as stated by The Mental Health Foundation.

Unmanageable workloads can lead to homelife conflicts, high levels of stress and in many cases, employee burnout – something that’s currently at historic levels with more than 70% of workers revealing they’ve experienced burn out during the pandemic.

Top tip: Set realistic expectations. By working closely with each member of your team to prioritise what needs to be done, and acknowledging what can slide if necessary, managers can help to remove the stress and pressure that employees put on themselves to complete all allocated work as quickly as possible.

2. Are you being transparent?

Do you have an ‘open door policy’ for your employees? And we’re not talking about the one-way doors where your team members can tell you things, but you can’t do the same.

Being open and honest with staff about any organisational changes or updates is more important than ever as we navigate through a new era of work. Whether that’s permanent home working, adopting a hybrid model or returning full time to a socially distanced office, together we’re all entering unfamiliar waters that can trigger feelings of anxiety, stress and even depression.

Prolonged uncertainty takes its toll and research reveals that employees who feel that their managers have not been good at communicating have been more likely to experience mental health declines.

Top tip: Communicate more than ever before. Up the frequency of your communications, share the good news and the bad, be consistent and clear about any company changes and most importantly, be open about your own wellbeing.

When managers share their own mental health challenges, it makes them relatable, more approachable and reminds employees that we’re all human and in this together.

3. Are you leading a good example?

According to a recent poll, 61% of UK managers have suffered work burnout since the first lockdown was introduced, with 34% saying working longer hours has been one of the main causes.

As well as damaging their own wellbeing, when managers are seen to be working longer hours, i.e. sending emails and work requests outside of working hours it can make employees feel obliged to do the same, significantly increasing their risk of stress and burnout – a vicious circle!

Top tip: Set boundaries and serve as an example. Data from UK workers suggests that managers can help with employee burnout and stress while working from home by keeping communication and work expectations within working hours.

This applies to annual leave too! By keeping off your emails and showing that it’s okay to totally switch off from work while away on holiday, it can encourage your staff to do the same.

Here at Key Wellbeing we can help you to find out how your people are really feeling by receiving their honest feedback through our anonymous wellbeing assessment tool. Not only does this show your team that they matter, it will allow you to gather insight that will help you to become a more effective leader.

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