The public's sympathy for the distress caused by layoffs tends to be directed, understandably, toward the workers who are losing their jobs. But the act of handing out layoff notices, or of picking the workers to be laid off, is no picnic.
A decade-long study of line managers at Boeing found the long-term side effects of laying off workers can include "sleep problems, emotional exhaustion and dizziness," according to a report in Human Resource Executive.
These so-called "layoff agents" were reported to have been distancing themselves emotionally from workers--they felt they had become "calloused" and desired to tune out. They were also found to have higher rates of stress, depression and emotional exhaustion, HRE reports.