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Managers have big influence on worker mental health: survey


Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

Lowell, MA — Managers have greater influence on the mental health of workers than doctors and therapists, results of a recent survey suggest.

The Workforce Institute at UKG commissioned a survey of 2,200 workers and managers from the United States and nine additional countries about their employment, work-related stress, mental health and other topics. Researchers also surveyed 600 C-suite leaders and 600 human resource executives/directors from the United States. All of the respondents were adults who worked part- or full-time for at least one employer in an hourly or salaried role.

Although 3 out of 5 of the workers indicated that their job has the biggest influence on their mental health, 69% said their manager plays the largest role – the same as a spouse or partner. Managers were cited more often than a doctor (51%) or therapist (41%).

More than 80% of the respondents said they’d prioritize good mental health over a high-paying job. Among U.S. respondents, 70% would leave a high-paying job in favor of one that provides more mental health support, including 70% of Generation Z and 69% of millennial workers.

Other findings:

  • 78% of the respondents said stress negatively affects their work performance.
  • 64% would take a pay cut to have a job that better supports their mental wellness.
  • 43% said they’re “often” or “always” exhausted after work.
  • Only 38% who said their workload is a problem acknowledged that they “rarely” or “never” talk to their manager about it.

Managers are experiencing the same stressors as well. Nearly 60% of the managers said they wish someone had warned them not to take their current job, and 46% suggested they’ll quit within the next year because of too much work-related stress.

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