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. 

The findings from, a global leader in cloud software for conversational commerce, reveal that one-third (32%) of UK managers work outside of office hours to complete tasks they are not getting to during the day due to dealing with general employee queries, and 40 percent feel that current internal systems for handling general operational tasks need to be improved.

In comparison, 85 percent of employees surveyed feel that information on general procedures is not easily accessible.

How is this impacting their day-today lives?

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 percent 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.

What are the most frequent questions that managers get asked?

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 percent believe it is a question related to how expenses are filed. Three years on from the first lockdown, 28 percent of managers find themselves frequently giving employees information on the flexible working policy.

The study highlights that technology is underused within internal business communications, with 44 percent of employees accessing general information via the HR team and a similar proportion (43%) seeking answers from their line managers. Just 19 percent 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 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.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.