Research from productivity platform, ClickUp, has shown the crucial role that Middle Managers play in driving productivity. The study found that 81 per cent of knowledge workers believe Middle Managers, those below top level management and typically in charge of departments or groups, are the people most responsible for driving team productivity, with 68 per cent rating the Middle Managers they work with as very or extremely effective.

ClickUp’s study suggests that the quality and performance of Middle Managers is directly correlated to whether a business is highly productive or not. Among respondents that rated their organisations as highly productive, 73 per cent said that Middle Managers are extremely or very effective at driving productivity. However, this drops substantially among those that did not rate their organisation’s productivity highly, with only 26 per cent saying the same.

“Middle Managers have been given the short end of the stick for far too long. Often maligned and increasingly squeezed between demands from top executives and the wider workforce, we must recognise the crucial role they play as drivers of productivity.” Said Chris Hicken, Chief Productivity Officer at ClickUp. “There is a danger businesses may underestimate or overlook vital personnel that can help deliver impactful change within an organisation. When we empower Middle Managers, all stakeholders across the organisation are better informed, projects and campaigns move along seamlessly, and everybody works toward a common goal.”

The research also provides insight into the remote work debate, where Middle Managers have often taken centre stage. The majority of Middle Managers (73 per cent) believe they are either as effective, or even more effective, in their roles since the rise of remote work and, crucially, their colleagues largely agree (60 per cent). In contrast to rhetoric behind the recent return to office trend, this figure rises to 79 per cent when it comes to an organisation’s Executives.

Middle Managers have also seemingly overcome many of the challenges of remote work, which were identified as difficulty building personal connections, cited by 64 per cent of respondents, reduced ability to observe employee performance (63 per cent) and communication and challenges with collaboration (58 per cent). Despite 40 per cent believing that remote work has made it more difficult for Middle Managers to effectively do their job, only 23 per cent believe that Middle Managers are less effective since the rise of remote work.

Across the board, knowledge workers believe that better tools for Middle Managers would improve organisational productivity whether people are in the office or working remotely, with 84 per cent agreeing with this.

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