Nearly half of Canadian employees report feeling overworked and burnt out. But the overwhelming majority are still happy at work, according to the Staples Advantage Workplace Index.

Employees are working longer days, and a quarter of them regularly work after the standard workday is done. Furthermore, about four out of 10 work on weekends at least once a month. Breaks are becoming rare as well—half of employees feel like they cannot get up for a break at all and four out of 10 eat lunch at their desk.

Read: Few women feel they’ve achieved work/life balance

The driving force behind the “always on” work culture is the need for employees to complete work they don’t have time to do during the day, followed by a desire to get ahead for the following day. A drive to advance in the organization plays a role as well, with more than two-thirds of respondents seeing themselves as managers in the next five years.

Additional research reveals almost four out of 10 employees acknowledge that burnout is a motivator for a new job search. Burnout is also eroding productivity, according to 63% of Canadian employees. The biggest culprits in burnout include workload (64%), personal pressures employees put on themselves to perform (37%) and time pressures (44%).

Read: Employees want flexible, tech-friendly workplaces

Half of employees surveyed acknowledge they receive too much email, with nearly four out of 10 of those saying that email overload hurts productivity. Inefficient meetings also appear to be a major productivity drain, with some employees spending more than two hours a day in meetings. About a quarter of employees say meetings are inefficient. The majority of employees also say a distraction-free environment would increase productivity by at least 20%, citing loud coworkers as the top distraction.

Also, half of employees said decreasing work load or providing more time to complete tasks would minimize burnout. That may seem daunting to employers, but employees said some simple steps would help: Provide a more flexible schedule, encourage employees to take breaks, and improve technology.

Read: Providing flex hours helps retain talent

Though employees are happy, about one in five employees still expect to change jobs in the next 12 months. This flight risk is slightly higher for millennials. With employees working longer days and on weekends, the biggest request for employers is to provide more flexibility.

Flexibility is also critical to the recruitment and retention of top talent. In fact, work-life balance was one of the most important aspects to employees when looking for a new job (56%), which is even more important than increased salary. Additionally, one in five employees cited work-life balance issues as a reason for considering a job change while nearly four out of 10 identified it as a leading contributor of loyalty.

Read: How can you motivate millennials?

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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