Working Hours Lost due to Pandemic Fallout: Report

Canadian employees continue to struggle to take care of their health and well-being, losing 41 working days per year to absences and presenteeism, according to a recent report by international financial services provider Manulife.

The report highlights nearly half of employees are experiencing at least one work-related mental health challenge. Lack of work-life balance ranked highest among the risks.

These findings suggest employers should consider placing significantly more focus on culture and wellness programs in 2022 and beyond, particularly as large employee populations return to offices.

“Employee mental health patterns could be K-shaped as we move through the next phase of the pandemic,” says Dr. Georgia Pomaki, director of mental health best practices at Manulife. “One arm of the ‘K’ represents employees who are excited about reopening and returning to the office, (and) the other represents a group of employees who are facing mental health challenges and significant fatigue. For this group, a return to office may feel overwhelming. Organizations need to consider both groups to design effective and supportive return to office programs.”

It’s clear a strong workplace culture positively impacts employee health, as the report shows those organizations scoring highest in healthy workplace culture and wellness initiatives also achieved the best results across key health indicators.

“Mental health supports like virtual psychotherapy, employee assistance programs and mindfulness sessions translate into employee health and well-being improvements,” says Dr. Pomaki. “Organizations can help employees by removing barriers to accessing these benefits, increasing communications about available products and services, and helping reduce the stigma around their use. Given what we have been living through the past two years, if there’s ever a time to accelerate these efforts, (it) is now.”

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