Work-from-home, hybrid sees better mental health: survey

A recent survey found stark differences between how Canadians feel about work alone versus how they feel at home.

The latest findings from LifeWorks, formerly Morneau Schieble, show that 23 percent of Canadians who work exclusively in physical workplaces reported in November that their working lives had worsened compared to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This compares with those who only work at home (13 percent) and those who split their time between the two (23 percent).

Meanwhile, those who worked from home were three times more likely to report an improvement at work (21 percent) than those who would work in-person (seven percent), while 13 percent in hybrid work situations saw things improve. .

“The line between work and home life remains increasingly thin, regardless of the employees’ work environment,” said Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of LifeWorks, in a statement.

“As work is such a large part of Canadians’ lives, the importance of the work environment and the relationship to one’s well-being should not be underestimated. It is also important to remember that this time of year is indeed challenging for many. This is often the time of year when the need for counseling becomes And financial counseling and other EAP services are even more acute.”

The monthly survey forms part of the LifeWorks Mental Health Index, which began in April 2020 and measures changes against standard data from 2017, 2018, and 2019. LifeWorks says increases and decreases in the index are intended to predict cost and productivity risks, and to inform whether businesses and governments need to. Investing in mental health support.

Although results from November are slightly better than October, LifeWorks reports that Canadians’ overall mental health “continues to show stress” at 10 points below the pre-pandemic index. LifeWorks says this decline reflects a population whose mental health is similar to more than 4% of the norm group.

Nearly half of Canadians want in-person mental health support

Survey results show that despite widespread adoption of digital and video mental health support, 37 percent of working Canadians would prefer to access it in person.

Another 26 percent would prefer to receive mental health support via video, digital, telephone, or some other means.

Twelve percent prefer a combination of in-person and online contact, while 25 percent do not.

“Choice in how mental health support is provided is critical,” said Paula Allen, Global Leader at LifeWorks and Senior Vice President of Research and Total Wellbeing.

“While video and digital mental health are very effective, and have provided the opportunity to support a broader group, we cannot forget the value of in-person support as an option. Ensuring the right fit between service and individual is an important factor in obtaining the best results.”

In the areas Canadians value most in their mental health, 44 percent said sleep improved and 40 percent indicated improved mental focus, memory, and problem-solving.

Other results

The survey found persistent differences in mental health scores between those with emergency savings and those without.

Those with no emergency savings scored 31.5 points below the norm, a difference of more than 30 points between those with savings (-0.2).

Full-time post-secondary students saw a drop of more than six points from October to 25.6 points below the norm. This group scored the lowest in mental health compared to workers in different industries such as housing and food (-9.8) and retail (-8.8).

Twenty-four percent of Canadians report that their personal lives are worse than they were before the pandemic.

While managers consistently report lower mental health scores (-13.2 in January 2021) compared to non-managers (-10.7), that changed in November for the first time this year to -9.6 and -10.1, respectively.

Women continue to report lower mental health scores than men at -12.3 and -7.8. Differences were also observed between those who had at least one child (-11.5) and those who did not have children (-9.4).

Mental health scores improved with age, with the smallest group in the survey, 20-29, reporting the lowest score at -20.2, with those 60-69 at -3.2.

A similar trend occurred with household income, with those earning less than $30,000 per year scoring a score of -17.4 compared to those earning $150,000 or more at -2.4.

The survey was conducted online between November 9 and 22 and included 3,000 Canadian residents who had been employed over the previous six months. The same respondents participate each month and are chosen to be representative of age, gender, industry, and geography.

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