Recent research has shed light on a concerning trend in the UK, revealing that employees are feeling increasingly pressured to demonstrate their productivity in the workplace.

The study, conducted by POINT3 Wellbeing, found that nearly two in five Brits are experiencing work-related stress and poor mental health.

Disturbingly, more than half of those reporting poor well-being also feel unsupported by their managers and organisations.

Another survey, conducted by Microsoft, revealed that a staggering 85 percent of leaders are finding it challenging to have confidence in their employees’ productivity.

The shift to hybrid work has led to a substantial 153 percent increase in weekly meetings. In response to this, workers feel compelled to prove their productivity, leading to burnout.

Why is there this lack of trust?

Sarah Mayo, co-founder of POINT3 Wellbeing, expressed concern about the lack of trust shown by employers towards their employees. Despite three years of remote working, many managers still struggle to trust their teams to work productively when not under direct supervision.

Mayo highlighted the significance of trust in building high-performing teams and emphasised the need for managers to actively cultivate this trust in a remote work environment. Encouraging a culture of trust involves affording teams flexibility, treating them as adults, and establishing clear expectations and boundaries.

She warned that if managers fail to shift their approach, they risk facing resentment or resignations from their employees. Instead of relying on measures like screen time and keystrokes to assess productivity, leaders should ensure that team members understand their roles and contributions, provide support in prioritisation and direction, and regularly check in to monitor progress and distribute workloads effectively.

To help managers overcome productivity paranoia, Sarah Mayo offered several recommendations:

  1. Mental Health Training: 

    Managers should participate in mental health training to understand and address mental health issues in the workplace. Equipping managers with the confidence to have meaningful mental health conversations and providing practical tools to support employees will foster an environment where mental health concerns can be openly discussed.

  2. Flexibility and Accommodation: 

    Recognise that each employee’s mental health needs are unique and offer flexible work arrangements, such as flexible hours or remote work options, to accommodate those who require additional support. Leading by example in adopting flexible work practices will show employees that their well-being is a priority.

  3. Regular Check-ins:

    Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their well-being and work-related challenges. Active listening, providing support and guidance, and demonstrating a genuine concern for employees’ mental health can go a long way in boosting morale and well-being.

  4. Establish Well-being Non-Negotiables: 

    Encourage employees to identify and prioritise activities that contribute to their well-being. By supporting employees in understanding their well-being and non-negotiables, they can better strike a balance between work demands and personal life.

With the implementation of these recommendations, managers can help alleviate productivity pressure, foster healthier work environments, and ultimately enhance the overall well-being and performance of their teams.





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.