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TD Magazine

Employees Feel Accomplished Yet Stressed and Exhausted

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Managers' behaviors and organizational culture may not be conducive to workers thriving.

It's no secret that employees leave organizations because of their managers. In fact, according to the 2022 Real Estate Witch Employee Unhappiness Survey, 75 percent of US employees are unhappy with their managers. Researchers at the real estate information site examined responses from 1,000 full-time workers in the US, and they said that they are most frustrated with their managers because of unclear communication, micromanagement, and favoritism of other employees.

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However, workers' unhappiness is not solely a byproduct of their supervisors, and it isn't all doom and gloom. While 60 percent have some negative emotions about their work, just one in four has only negative emotions toward their job. When researchers asked individuals about the feelings their jobs elicit, the top three were accomplished, proud, and appreciated. Those, though, were followed by stressed and exhausted.

Work-life balance, or integration, is a topic that has gained significant attention the past two years, and according to the report, many employees are facing challenges around demands in that area. Two-thirds of workers said they are expected to respond to employer communication before, during, and after work hours as well as on weekends and during paid time off.

Many workers also reported feeling discouraged or that their employers explicitly discourage them from taking breaks. Only 36 percent said they often take a lunch break. Additionally, about the same number of workers spend half their day in meetings.

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What can employers do to change the tide on staff's negative sentiments? They can start by ensuring managers are supporting employees and communicating effectively. In the Newsweek article "Five Critical Differences Between Great Managers and Great Leaders," Erika Lance writes, "The ability to communicate effectively shouldn't be assumed. Managers need training in effective communication practices and how their actions impact employee performance."

Another way to reduce employees' stress is to rethink how they are spending their work hours. The Inc. article "In 2020, Google Banned Meetings for a Week. It Unexpectedly Reinvented Remote Work" suggests companies skip meetings for a variety of reasons, including if the meeting doesn't involve brainstorming or hands-on work. Last month's TD article "Break Free of Meetings" detailed that offering meeting-free days can reduce employees' stress.

With so many workers reflecting on their professional and personal lives, employers need to reconsider their expectations of employees; provide greater training, particularly for managers; and eliminate unnecessary meetings.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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