He advised that if an organisation wants its HR team members to be at their best, they need to be given work that stretches them and builds capability – but it is vital that the stretch “is not so far it overwhelms them”.
Participants in the study said that the time spent on communication dramatically reduced their capacity to work actively.
The results showed that across all HR roles, 42.7% of time was spent providing advice, in meetings or on emails. If conflict resolution, interviews, reports and training were added, this rose to 63.9%.
Many HR professionals said that this prevented them from fulfilling their employers’ expectations of them working strategically; across all HR roles, time spent on strategy was 7.8%, and for HR managers this only rose to 9.9%.
Researchers found that interruptions during the working day dramatically drove up stress and drove psychological flow down.
It was also found that the effect of interruptions correlated with personality: the more introverted a person was, the more distressed interruptions made them.
“The takeaway here is that HR managers are constantly being diverted from strategic work to address immediate issues,” Fraser said. “There is a need to delegate this work wherever possible or respond to it in more innovative ways, including using self-help for client managers.”
- Work-life balance
According to the study, greater levels of work-life balance led to more time “in flow” at work.
When boundaries between work and home were high – for example when individuals were not able to work from home – performance was reduced.