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Supporting middle managers in the hybrid workplace

In the past year, much attention has been given to the “future of work” and experts have spent countless hours predicting what it will look like for both workers and business leaders.
As companies transition into this new normal, it is now the present, but leaders have not yet planned and finalised all the details.

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One of the biggest challenges faced by leaders is how to provide the best possible support to their employees, especially mid-level managers who directly support their teams. According to the UK Economist Impact Report – nearly all survey respondents (98%) want to or already have rethought their office space or deployed hybrid working technologies. In addition, 71.5% were looking to increase their spending on digital workspaces.

UK companies are prioritising agility. Economist research also revealed that companies recognise that this is a vital path, with 67.5% of respondents describing agility as more important now than ever. Consequently, the majority of companies have already taken action, with 69.5% having made tangible investments in this direction (UK Economist Impact Report 2022).

The reality is that middle managers are feeling exhausted as they have been assigned with multiple tasks such as enforcing return-to-office plans, increasing productivity during economic uncertainties, addressing layoff concerns among their teams, communicating the company’s stance on social and political issues, taking on greater responsibility for the well-being of their teams, and managing other complex issues.

In Future Forum’s latest pulse report, some 43% of managers described themselves as burned out, more than both individual contributors and more senior leaders.

In the hybrid workplace, mid-level managers are facing many challenges and a new survey finds these key areas where organisations can better support their managers and help them accomplish more that results in a happier, more engaged workforce overall:

More time on talent.

Organisations can help managers who are stuck spending time on planning and lower-value tasks shift their focus toward higher-priority tasks.

A McKinsey survey finding provide insight into how middle managers’ time is spent. Nearly half of their time is devoted to non-managerial work—specifically, respondents say they are spending nearly one full day out of every week on administrative work.

Hybrid working is a new “social contract”

Workers are choosing employment based on well-being, mental health, work-life balance, and flexibility. So, leaders need to make the office worth the commute. Its role needs to be re-analyzed and redesigned. They need to be better at answering the key question employees have: Why should I come in?

It’s not just getting employees into the office — it’s making the most of their time, ensuring that the experience is seamless, fulfilling, and worthwhile.

Using technology so that teams become more connected and less siloed, so that relationships are strengthened and shared responsibilities clearer, and so that greater trust, innovation and creativity result (Condeco 2022 Attitudes to Hybrid Working).

Removal of organisational hurdles.

Many managers report challenges from above and below, and responses suggest that any reductions in excessive bureaucracy could improve managers’ work.

Middle managers face a range of complications with leaders and employees—as well as the organisation’s ways of working—that impair their work as people managers. When asked what circumstances have most negatively affected their experience as a manager, respondents most often mention organisational bureaucracy.

In fact, bureaucracy is the most-cited negative factor among respondents in every region: excessive meetings, emails, and approval processes are a problem everywhere. Additionally, at least a quarter of respondents point to each of these challenges: underperforming employees, senior leaders who have a negative impact on their teams, and departures of valuable employees after the organization did not offer what they believed they needed.

Personalised incentives.

Understanding what really motivates middle managers can help organizations provide the best environment for their managers to succeed.
To motivate middle managers to put in their best efforts, organisations should not just work on removing the barriers to managers’ success but also put in place a personalised incentives or financial rewards for their accomplishments.


At Change Corp we are working with clients to address the challenges of hybrid working.

We have developed an approach that focuses on the leadership challenges, and reflects the issues clients have communicated to us

If you want to learn more, please email us at to arrange a call to discuss how we can support you.

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Change Corp is skilled in implementing intervention that focus on team development for a new future, and which can directly address the content and delivery of learning for team leaders. For more information on our Team Leaders for the future programme book a demo in the link below

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We have also produced a FREE ‘Cultivating Compassionate Leadership’ development lesson. Follow the link below to download the video and manual

Compassionate Leadership manual and video

Contact us if you would like to discuss how Change Corp can support you in these challenging times.

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