More than half of Canadians work despite feeling unwell, at least one day a week: report

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TORONTO – A new report finds that more than half of Canadian workers report feeling unwell at least once a week, a trend experts at LifeWorks say can lead to productivity loss in the workplace and to employees’ mental health. contributing to the decline in health.

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According to LifeWorks Monthly Mental Health Index Released on Wednesday, 54 percent of respondents said they do their job at least once a week while feeling physically or mentally unwell.

The report found that mental-health scores are “far below” among these Canadians, who report never working while feeling unwell.

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In addition, 64 percent of parents reported working on feeling unwell at least one day per week.

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Attendanceism, where employees appear to work when unwell, was a pre-pandemic problem in workplaces. However, Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president of Research and Total Wellbeing at LifeWorks, says that COVID-19 has changed its stance on this, making employers more concerned about the increase in the number of workers who are feeling unwell. have become aware.

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“We know that when people are feeling unwell, their productivity at work is affected. We also have clear data that indicates an organization’s culture of well-being and investments in workplace mental health impact the overall health of the workforce. Health makes a difference,” Allen said in a press release.

The report found that 46 percent of Canadians indicated they never worked out while feeling unwell. According to LifeWorks, this group had the “most favorable” mental health score, coming in at about four points from the pre-pandemic benchmark (+3.7).

LifeWorks uses a response scoring system that converts individual responses to a point value for each survey question. According to the report, higher point values ​​are associated with better mental health.

The scores of those surveyed are added up and then divided by the total number of possible scores to obtain a score out of 100. To reflect the change, the score for the current month is compared with that of the benchmark and the previous month.

LifeWorks has published its Mental Health Index every month since April 2020, and the benchmark includes data collected in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

LifeWorks said those with a mental health score of -40 or lower are estimated to have a productivity loss of 27 percent, while those with a mental health score of +10 or higher have a productivity loss of 10 percent.

As more workers return to the workplace amid COVID-19, Allen said it is important that employers pay attention to the mental health of their employees.

“As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, there will be more change and additional stress as a result. This is not the time to reduce our focus on employee mental health and wellbeing. The need continues and productivity risks significant,” she said in the release. said.

feeling of being at work

The report found that working from home leads to isolation and negative mental health worsening among Canadian workers.

According to LifeWorks, 73 percent of those surveyed said they felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work before the pandemic, while only 65 percent felt the same during the past month.

The report found that 68 percent of employees who work in the workplace report a greater sense of belonging than those surveyed who work from home or in a hybrid workplace.

According to LifeWorks, among people working full-time from home or dividing their time between home and job location, their sense of belonging and acceptance decreased from 73 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent.

Respondents who felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work had the highest mental health score, coming in at -3.1, and had the best isolation score at -3.4 compared to those who were unsure or didn’t feel the same way. Used to do

In addition, the isolation score among those working exclusively from home is worse (-9.6) than those working in the hybrid model (-7.6) or the jobsite (-7.3).

Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of LifeWorks, explained in a press release, “While remote or hybrid work offers flexibility and saves time commuting, there is a risk that people will become less connected to their organizations and partners over time. can feel.” “When transitioning to a virtual setting during the pandemic, many employees lost the ease of conversation they might have found invigorating.”

According to Lifeworks, this trend is seen across all age groups, but the proportion of employees feeling a sense of belonging at work was found to increase with age.

To ensure a successful return to the workplace, Liptrap said employers should consider “new ways” to help reduce feelings of isolation to create a “bias-free” work environment regardless of the place of work. So to receive.

“The connections and the social support they provide are vital to well-being and we need to make sure it doesn’t get lost,” he said in the release.

impact on mental health

Lifeworks’ Overall Mental Health Index for August 2021 The index was down for the 17th consecutive month with a score of -9.7 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark. However, LifeWorks noted that this is the highest mental health score recorded since the index’s launch in April 2020.

The index monitors sub-scores against pre-pandemic benchmarks including financial risk, psychological health, isolation, work productivity, anxiety, depression and optimism.

The report found that the optimism and general psychological health sub-scores declined compared to those reported in July, while the financial risk sub-score saw the most significant improvement, gaining 1.1 points from the previous month. Is.

LifeWorks said financial risk remains the strongest of all sub-scores and remains well above the pre-2020 benchmark.

LifeWorks’ latest monthly index is based on an English and French survey, with 3,000 responses collected online between July 30 and August 5, 2021. All respondents lived in Canada and were employed within the past six months according to the index.

The HR company, formerly known as Morneau Schapel, says the data is “statistically weighted” to ensure that the regional and gender composition of the sample reflects the Canadian population.

LifeWorks said online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not sample the population at random.

Edited by Granthshala.ca Senior Producer Marie Nersesian and Producer Sonja Puzik

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