Is your manager helping your mental health or are they stressing you out? A recent study by the The Workforce Institute at UKG surveyed 3,400 people across ten countries with the aim of highlighting the key role work and our managers play in supporting our mental health or not – both in and outside of work. The results may surprise managers and business leaders! The research published this month suggests that for almost 70 percent of workers, their manager has the same impact on their mental health–as their partner or spouse! Sixty percent of employees said their job impacts their mental health more than any other factor in their lives!
Being an employer and manager has always been a big responsibility but this also highlights they key role organisations, work and management have on mental health. ‘People can be our greatest sources of stress or our greatest source of strength.’ Whenever I say this phrase in workshops, people nod knowingly. The effect of relationships on our emotional and mental wellbeing is significant. And it works both ways – it can affect us positively or negatively as this research confirms.
Other insights generated from survey show that more than 80% of employees would prefer good mental health over a high-paying job. The importance people place on mental health was further highlighted by respondents with two-thirds of employees saying they would take a pay cut for a job that better supports their mental wellbeing — and 70% of managers saying the same. Respondents also said that work stress negatively impacts their wellbeing in significant ways. Employees also said that work stress negatively impacts their home life (71%), wellbeing (64%), and relationships (62%).
The strong impact managers have on employees mental health is clear – with 69 percent of workers saying their manager has the same impact on their mental health–as their partner - and more than their doctors which was highlighted by 51 percent. The relationship between retention and mental wellbeing was also shown in the report with 40% of the C-suite surveyed saying they were likely to quit within a year because of work-related stress.
The role of organisations in employee wellbeing is significant and perhaps higher than many have previously understood. Work can be a great source of wellbeing or it can a source of stress and problems for people. Viewpoints on this were shown to vary in the study depending on the role of the person. Ninety percent of leaders and HR managers surveyed believed that working for their company had a positive impact on the mental health of their staff. Only half of employees had the same opinion. Seven out of ten said they would like their company and manager to do more to support mental health in the workplace.
Different factors affect mental health. We all have our own struggles and stresses. Overwhelm, burnout and being often or always exhausted are increasingly factors for many. Work stress carries into peoples personal lives and personal stress can affect how we show up at work. Chronic anxiety after global crises is wearing people down. The research also shows that managers are often more stressed that their teams – with many reporting burnout. They have pressure from all sides – teams and targets, and leadership and shareholders.
Stress and lifestyle disease are on the rise all over the world. The role the workplace and employers can have on mental health and wellbeing is significant. This is a responsibility but it is also a huge opportunity for employers to support engage, look after and grow their most important asset, their people.