Around a third of Canadians report their physical health (30 per cent), mental health (32 per cent) and financial situations (34 per cent) have worsened or significantly worsened over the past two years, according to a new survey conducted by Environics Research and commissioned by Dialogue Health Technologies Inc.
The survey, which polled more than 1,500 Canadians, also found a majority (70 per cent) said they’re more conscious of their health in the past few years, a 14 per cent increase since 2021.
When focusing specifically on remote workers, the survey found 55 per cent have noticed more stress and anxiety, followed by reduced productivity (39 per cent) and increased absenteeism (33 per cent). And while most (80 per cent) said they’re comfortable seeking mental-health support, only half said they have the financial means to do so.
“Physical and mental-health concerns have significant impacts on well-being and, left untreated, can have many downstream effects on productivity and contribute to chronic health issues,” said Dr. Stephanie Moynihan, associate medical director at Dialogue, in a press release.
“It’s important for Canadians to recognize the barriers to improve not only their physical and mental health, but their overall well-being. Being well is more than just not being sick and establishing healthier habits can not only help reverse or better control chronic physical and mental-health issues, but prevent them.”
The survey also found financial barriers (40 per cent) and lack of time (32 per cent) prevent Canadians from prioritizing their well-being. Employees are also increasingly expecting support from their employers. Indeed, 90 per cent of respondents said it’s important for employers to provide support to improve well-being, but only 45 per cent said they’ve noticed employers taking action.
In addition, 40 per cent of respondents said they’ve never accessed their employee assistance program and 45 per cent said they haven’t accessed the EAP in the past six months. A third said they consider mental-health support provided through benefits plans to be insufficient, while 76 per cent reported their managers haven’t been sufficiently trained or lack the training to recognize and support their mental-health needs.
“As Canadians report worsening physical and mental health, as well as financial pressures — issues that can be further exacerbated by working situations — they are expecting more support from their employers,” said Ahsan Sadiq, vice-president of health and wellness at Environics, in the release. “Employer-paid services, when accessible and socialized, can boost well-being indicators and provide an important return on investment through increased job satisfaction and retention.”
Beyond EAPs, virtual care has been increasingly offered through employer-paid solutions to bolster well-being, according to the survey, which found 77 per cent of respondents agreed it’s the future of health care, especially when physical and mental-health professionals have a complete view of their health and well-being.
In addition, 83 per cent of employees at organizations that have taken action to improve worker well-being find these initiatives helpful, citing better job satisfaction (44 per cent), a more positive work environment (44 per cent), feeling more supported (39 per cent), increased productivity (39 per cent) and better retention (34 per cent).