A third (32 per cent) of Canadian workers are at high mental-health risk — considerably higher than the 14 per cent who were found to be at high risk prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Telus Health’s (formerly LifeWorks Inc.) latest mental-health survey.
Despite respondents’ mental-health score increasing slightly, from 64.6 points in December 2022 to 64.8 points in January 2023, their sub-scores for anxiety (58.4), isolation (61.0) and work productivity (62.8) all remained at their lowest levels. Among those in the high-risk group, 30 per cent reported being diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
Fewer than a third (30 per cent) of respondents said they’re unable to adopt a flexible working schedule. This group’s mental-health score was more than two points below the national average (62.3). Notably, those who can work flexibly most or all of the time (35 per cent) had the highest mental-health score (69).
Read: Younger employees less likely to be able to cope with work stress: survey
In terms of the advantages of remote working, 36 per cent of respondents cited saving money, followed by the ability to attend to personal issues or having better work-life balance (at 35 per cent each), the ability to get more done or work fewer hours for the same amount of work (25 per cent), avoiding co-worker interactions or conflict with a specific person or people (14 per cent), ability to avoid bad workplace culture (13 per cent) and the ability to work an extra job to supplement their income (nine per cent).
The lowest mental-health score was among those who reported avoiding co-worker interactions (57.9) or a bad workplace culture (57.4) as advantages.
Meanwhile, among the disadvantages of remote working, survey respondents cited social interaction (45 per cent), feeling isolated (36 per cent), blurring of work and personal lives (36 per cent), difficulty in completing tasks (24 per cent), boredom (22 per cent), difficulty in staying focused (20 per cent), concerns about not having the same support or career advantages as in-office workers (18 per cent) and poor home office setups, such as ergonomics and equipment (12 per cent).
The lowest mental-health score (55.3) was among those who had concerns about not having the same support or career advantages as their in-office colleagues.
When asked what supports would be valuable to their children’s well-being, more than a third (34 per cent) of those with children under age 18 said flexible work, 19 per cent said academic support and 17 per cent said mental-health support.
Read: 77% of Canadian workers facing moderate to high mental-health risk: survey