As UK productivity continues to lag behind its European neighbours in the aftermath of Brexit and the pandemic, new findings have revealed that on average, managers are losing seven working days each year answering general operational or administrative questions. In line with this, a quarter (24%) are suffering with increased stress due to the additional pressures that come with dealing with general employee queries.
32% of UK managers work outside of office hours
The findings from CM.com, a global leader in cloud software for conversational commerce, revealed that one-third (32%) of UK managers work outside of office hours to complete tasks they aren’t getting to during the day due to dealing with general employee queries, and 40% feel that current internal systems for handling general operational tasks need to be improved. Comparatively, 85% of employees surveyed feel that information on general procedures is not easily accessible.
When questioned on how this is impacting their day-to-day, over a quarter (26%) of managers feel that onboarding new employees takes up too much time, while 30% of managers feel that they do not have enough time to answer questions from new recruits. Over a third (35%) have less time to focus on critical tasks due to dealing with general queries. From the employee perspective, just over a fifth (21%) questioned think that managers are too busy to respond to their general questions, making it more time-consuming for them to get an answer to even simple questions. Just under a quarter (24%) of employees feel that there is a lack of clarity on where to seek information on workplace procedures
When it comes to the questions managers find themselves having to answer, over a third (34%) state that ‘how do I book holiday?’ is the most frequently asked, while 31% believe it’s a question related to how expenses are filed. Three years on from the first lockdown, 28% of managers find themselves frequently giving employees information on the flexible working policy.
Technology underused in internal business communications
The study highlights that technology is underused within internal business communications, with 44% of employees accessing general information via the HR team and a similar proportion (43%) seeking answers from their line managers. Just 19% of employees access information via internal chatbot technology, despite a quarter (25%) of managers thinking a chatbot would be a useful way to onboard new employees. From the employee perspective, 34% believe integrating an internal chatbot would help them find answers without having to rely on others.
James Matthews, Country Manager, UK & Ireland at CM.com said: “The ongoing productivity crisis is causing problems for businesses across the UK – and managers are currently being placed under unnecessary stress because of outdated and inefficient internal processes. Not only does this have a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing, but clunky processes make working life more frustrating for all employees and have an adverse effect on productivity and job satisfaction.
“This stress awareness month, employee wellbeing should be a key business priority. Technology and AI has huge potential to streamline internal communication and empower both employees and employers via internal chatbots. For employees it means access to general operational and administrative information when they need it, while managers aren’t being distracted from completing more critical tasks. Despite this – and the potential it offers in supporting business growth – the majority of companies are yet to tap into this technology.”
The research was conducted by Censuswide with a sample of 500 middle managers and above, with 100 in housing associations (aged 18+). The survey fieldwork took place between 02.03.23 - 09.03.23. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.
The research was conducted by Censuswide with a sample of 2,050 nationally representative respondents in UK. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region The survey fieldwork took place between 21.03.23 - 23.03.23 Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.