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Roughly a quarter (23 per cent) of Canadians working exclusively at physical workplaces said their working lives have worsened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to LifeWorks Inc.’s latest mental-health index.

The survey — which was conducted between Nov. 9 and Nov. 22, 2021 and prior to the spread of the Omicron variant — found these respondents also reported a mental-health score of negative 21.1, more than 11 points below the national average of negative 10. While the national average was up slightly from last month’s mental-health score of negative 10.2, it marks the 20th consecutive month that Canadians reported a negative mental-health score.

Read: Mental health declining for 23% of employees since start of pandemic: survey

In addition, employees working exclusively from home are three-times more likely than individuals working exclusively at physical workplaces to report an improvement in their working lives, while respondents who split their time between home and a physical workplace are twice as likely to report an improvement. Respondents who reported no change in their working life as a result of the pandemic (65 per cent) had an above-average mental-health score of negative 6.2.

While respondents who are currently unemployed reported a mental-health score of negative 13, this was higher than employees who reported working fewer hours compared to the prior month (negative 21.4) and employees receiving a reduced salary (negative 20.1.) Respondents who work for organizations with between 5,001 and 10,000 employees reported a higher mental-health score than those working for companies with 51-100 employees (negative 8.1 and negative 13.5, respectively).

Read: Mental health spiralling as 35% of employees consider leaving job: survey

More than a third (37 per cent) of working Canadians indicated a preference for in-person mental-health support, while 12 per cent prefer a combination of in-person and digital support. A quarter (26 per cent) said they prefer video, digital or telephonic support, while 25 per cent said they have no preference. Roughly two-fifths (44 per cent) said that improving their sleep provides the greatest value for their mental health and 40 per cent said their most valued area of support is improving mental focus, memory and problem solving.

And while 43 per cent of respondents said they don’t use employer-provided mental-health services, this group had a higher mental-health score than the nine per cent who reported using psychological support services through their benefits plans (negative 5.8 and negative 20.4, respectively).

Read: Onsite workers citing higher sense of belonging, acceptance than those at home: survey