Think you've got it bad? Odds are your manager is even more burned out than you are, according to a new survey.


When was the last time you checked in on your boss? Odds are, they're even worse off than you are.

Managers in the middle of a company's chain of command are at a higher risk of burnout than any other worker group, according to a new Future Forum survey of over 10,000 desk workers administered by Slack. 

Among the middle managers surveyed, 43% said they are experiencing burnout as a result of chronic workplace stress. Staff without any workers underneath them reported the second-highest percentage at 40%, followed by senior management at 37%, and executives at 32%.

Managers caught in the at times isolating territory between entry-level staff and executive leadership also scored the lowest in work-life balance and reported the highest stress and anxiety levels.

And burnout isn't just bad for workers, it's bad for the bottom line too — causing 32% worse productivity and 60% worse ability to focus, per the survey. 

Part of the reason corporate leaders are struggling, according to Future Forum, is that "executives and team leaders are facing new challenges caused by shifting workplace expectations and norms."

Enforcing return-to-office initiatives, for example, often falls on the shoulders of lower-level managers — relegating them to bad guy status even if they disagree with the mandates themselves, as Bloomberg reported Thursday.

There's also the built-in challenges of managing staff in a hybrid or virtual work environment as leaders continue to adjust to a new normal, Future Forum co-founder Sheela Subramanian told the outlet. 

"I often hear leaders say that working away from the office makes it harder to connect and collaborate and eats away at company culture, and about 25% of executives surveyed listed that as a top concern in our survey," Subramanian said. "But this might be an issue of executives believing that what worked for them in the past is what works best for everyone, and the data shows that executives and non-executives have very different experiences."

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