Opinion time. Here are my observations on the question, "Who is under more pressure these days, managers or employees?"
Employees - There is no doubt that employees are under tremendous pressure at work compared to earlier times. Employees are expected to undertake more work and have a higher productivity index than their predecessors.
Technological advances have both helped and hindered the demands placed on employees. Yes, technology is a good thing and enables greater productivity, but technology itself is an issue when we have to learn the new program alongside current programs and when technology fails the implications can be enormous.
Additionally, no longer is it acceptable for employees in the customer service industry for example to expel those that behave inappropriately or hang-up on a customer who becomes angry. We now must learn new ways of continued engagement with difficult customers.
No longer is it okay to say "That's good enough" when we are providing a service to clients. We need to know every policy and procedure no matter how insignificant to ensure that we do not stray from what is deemed to be acceptable. Employees are under extreme scrutiny like never before and there is a myriad of ways that complaints can be made against an employee by a disaffected client.
Worse still is the intense monitoring and oversight placed on employees by managers. Often, the monitoring is down to the last second of each day.
Managers - Often unknown or sometimes ignored by employees, managers are under similar pressures, if not more so than employees. Managers are the proverbial 'meat in the sandwich' tasked with implementing changes thrust upon them from above while maintaining (or increasing) productivity.
Managers work longer hours, must make immediate critical determinations on the run, are involved in decisions that could alter the long term outcome of the organisation and do not have the opportunity to relax in the evenings.
Managers must attend numerous meetings across the day and are then expected to be on top of their existing workload while keeping abreast of technological advances themselves.
Decisions that managers make have an immediate impact on an organisation, good or bad. That is an unspoken burden they face every day.
So who is under more pressure, employees or managers? In my opinion both are under pressure, the pressure is just different.
Pressure will always be on us, it how we respond that matters the most. Yes, we can start pushing back if we truly wanted to avoid pressure however that will only cause more pressure arising from conflict.
Regardless of what your role is in an organisation, know that you can only do the best that you can and that how you handle the pressure is determined by your attitude and perception. Change one of these, and pressure becomes a challenge, change becomes a curiosity, and new technology becomes an assistance.