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New research - employees are having less time with their line managers during lockdown

Elissa Dennis
19th May 2020
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48% of employees are having fewer 1-2-1s

Our new research reveals that the amount of 1-2-1 time that employees previously spent with their line managers has fallen sharply since the beginning of the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost half of the employees who responded to the survey said they were having fewer 1-2-1s and 38% said the frequency had dropped significantly over the last few weeks. Only 17% of employees said the frequency of their 1-2-1s had increased at all.

We also asked employees if their line manager was checking in regularly with them to see how they were coping with the current situation. While 44% said their line manager was in touch frequently with them, 27% said their manager was not in regular contact. One of five respondents strongly disagreed with the statement, indicating they felt their line manager hadn’t been in touch nearly as much as they would have liked.

These figures show that a large proportion of the UK workforce is not receiving the usual guidance, mentoring and coaching that they were previously enjoying. This could be significantly damaging these employees’ ability to perform to their full potential while working remotely. It could also mean issues around their wellbeing and mental health may not be picked up as the line manager is not able to pick up the warning signs if they are struggling.

These results could also indicate the enormous pressure that line managers are currently under. Many have no previous experience of managing a remote workforce, potentially lacking the skills and tools to be able to do so effectively. On top of this, they are also struggling to come to terms with their own new working environment, which could be complicated by having children at home, plus adapting objectives to reflect the current realities of business in the UK. Their time is likely to be under huge pressure and one of the elements suffering appears to be their direct management duties.

Drilling down further into the results, shows that Generation Z are missing out the most on time with their line manager. The youngest employees in the workforce, those aged 18 to 24 are having the least amount of dedicated time. Only 12% are having more frequent 1-2-1s, while over half, 53%, are having fewer, with 43% stating they are having significantly less time with their line managers than before. This is in stark contrast to older employees. 21% of those aged 55 to 64 are having 1-2-1s more often than before lockdown.

At the start of the lockdown, it was assumed by many that older non-digital native employees would struggle more to adapt to remote working and getting to grips with telecommunications. This may explain why older employees are getting more time with their line managers. However, new research has shown that it is younger workers who are finding it hardest to cope[1]. 85% of Generation Z said they feel less connected with their teams and 89% reported difficulties working from home. Line managers need to take heed of these findings and ensure their younger employees are getting the support and guidance they need to work as productively as possible.

Our founder, Roly Walter commented:

“Most employees are adapting to a completely new way of working, away from their office and their colleagues. On top of this, many of their previously goals may now be irrelevant and they are also dealing with additional anxiety caused by the pandemic. At this time, 1-2-1s with line managers are even more important to provide focus, guidance and support. These figures are concerning and show that line managers may be lacking the tools they need to reach out effectively to their direct reports.

He went on to add:

To help our customers, Appraisd has developed a new Working from Home Check-in form and introduced integrated video calling into the tool, to make 1-2-1s as easy, simple and effective as possible. We’ve used these both at Appraisd and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what a huge difference they have made to our 1-2-1s, making them feel much more natural and giving me, as a line manager, a fantastic insight into how my team are coping.”

Click here to find out more about our Working from Home check-in form or integrated video calling. If you have a specific query, please contact our Customer Success Team via online chat or support@appraisd.com.


Survey conducted through Google Survey with 1,044 UK employees, May 2020.