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Business decline hits health of UK managers

A new report from the Chartered Management Institute paints a bleak picture of the impact of the recession on UK workplaces. Compared with 2007, managers today are: working longer hours due to larger workloads; increasingly suffering from ill health including stress and depression; and more likely to come to work despite being sick.

Coupled with this, negative management styles continue to prevail in UK organisations, with the most commonly reported being bureaucratic (45%), reactive (33%), and authoritarian (30%). The research highlights how these harmful management cultures are affecting UK businesses and holding back UK growth. Negative management styles were linked to employee disengagement, decreasing job satisfaction, poor mental and physical health, reductions in productivity and business decline.

Key findings include:

  • Growth firms are far more likely to have accessible, empowering, trusting and consensual senior managers – for example, only 6% in declining organisations described the dominant style as empowering, compared to 35% in growing firms. By contrast, 45% of declining firms had authoritarian styles, compared to 15% in growth organisations.
  • Change is now the norm. Some 92% of managers had experienced organisational change in the last year – including major change such as organisational restructuring (83%) or compulsory redundancies (42%).
  • The average manager now works around 46 days unpaid overtime per year – up from 40 days in the 2007 study. Some 60% of those working overtime feel they had no choice because of the volume of work, and 29 % worked long hours because job cuts had increased their workload.
  • ‘Presenteeism’ is on the rise – 43% believe people don’t take sick leave when they are ill, a marked increase from 32% in 2007. Managers also believe organisations are less tolerant of people taking sick leave.
  • The report found that more managers are suffering from stress and depression (42% of managers reported suffering from stress symptoms in 2012, up from 35% in 2007, and 18% reported suffering from depression – a 3% rise).

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