Morneau Shepell recently conducted a survey on workplace mental health with more than 1,500 Canadian employees. The results are alarming, both on stress levels and in terms of consequences for organizations.
Morneau Shepell’s survey shows that 40% of managers and 34% of Canadian employees have suffered from extreme levels of stress in the last six months, and most cite professional stress before personal stress. Both have increased 3% over the last two years. On the professional side, the factors that contribute to it are workload and long hours, colleagues and responsibilities. The most affected are employees in Ontario (41% report high stress levels), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (38%) and Alberta (36%), followed by those of the Atlantic provinces (31%), Quebec (29%), British Columbia and the Territories (29%).
What are the consequences for employers?
These stress levels pose a number of problems for organizations. Firstly, among those suffering from high levels of professional stress, 20% of managers and 18% of employees would be more inclined to resign. Then, the situation causes absenteeism and disengagement which has a negative impact on productivity – almost a quarter of employees suffering from it have used vacation or sick days to manage their stress in the last two years. Knowing that in general it’s the most high-performing people who are the most stressed, to the point of not asking for help in time and coping with a highly functional depression (i.e., mental health problems or sleep disturbances during which the person continues to follow his daily routine despite everything), companies risk losing their best elements if they do not respond.
What’s to be done to help stressed employees?
Canadian workers believe that their employer should be more involved to help employees in distress, especially in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (88%), and in Alberta (80%). The four main areas of support identified are resources for distress, support for family problems, development of coping skills and preventive measures.