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The double-edged sword for new managers

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Becoming a manager has its perks – a higher pay, career mobility and even more influence over decision-making. With these perks, come a few downsides – a much heavier workload with never enough time to tackle it.

new study by Portland State University and University of Zurich researchers, on more than 2,000 workers and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, calls this transition a “double-edged sword”. According to the study’s co-author Charlotte Fritz, quoted in a Portland State University article, while the increased authority and freedom associated with a managerial role increases job satisfaction, having to juggle more work means managers would have to potentially skip breaks or work longer hours. Thus, managers are faced with more exhaustion and more disruption to family time.

To address this issue, Fritz advises companies to not only restructure the managers’ workload to reduce the pressures of time constraint, but to also incorporate strategies for detachment as part of management trainings.

She shared: “Organisations need to encourage managers to regularly take time to mentally let go of work — to not check emails, to not be on calls at home, to actively engage with their families or hobbies — so the impact on exhaustion and work-family conflict is not as strong.

“Supervisors are responsible for others and if they’re burned out or not satisfied in their role and their work, that trickles down,” Fritz said. “They’re not only impacting themselves on an individual level; they’re impacting a whole workgroup. Managers are highly influential in terms of employees’ work experiences, so they need to be taken care of.”

That said, it has been noted that a number of organisations are doing something to ensure managers have proper work-life balance, by creating flexibility in work schedules and encouraging supervisors to support their employees’ own work-life balance.

Here are some examples previously featured by Human Resources on managing work-life balance:

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