Employees in Canada working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are paying a “COVID tax,” as a result of working additional hours during these tumultuous times, according to a survey from ADP Inc. and the Angus Reid Institute.
The survey, which polled more than 1,500 full- and part-time working Canadians in April, found that, while this “tax” is impacting 30 per cent of all employed Canadians, it’s having a significantly higher effect on those working from home.
Nearly half (44 per cent) of employees working remotely said they’re logging more hours than they did pre-pandemic. This number has doubled over the past year, from 21 per cent in April 2020 to 44 per cent this April. And of the 44 per cent of respondents working longer hours, one in 10 reported logging more than eight hours — at least one additional day, or more — per week. Comparatively, only 15 per cent of employees said they’re working fewer hours, while 38 per cent reported no change.
Stress levels are also on the rise. According to the survey, stress levels rose seven per cent over the past year, from 34 per cent last April to 41 per cent in April 2021. Additionally, 46 per cent of employees surveyed who are working from home said they’re feeling less engaged with their work since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“By encouraging employees to take vacation time and regular breaks, to monitor their stress levels and seek support if needed and by introducing policies for after-hours work or educating on the right to disconnect, employers can help protect the physical and mental health of employees,” said Ed Yuen, vice-president of strategy and business development at ADP Canada, in a press release.
Despite working longer hours, 42 per cent of Canadian employees surveyed who are working remotely said they’re feeling more productive and over a third (37 per cent) have noticed an increase in the quality of their work. This was a significant increase from last April, when 19 per cent reported increased quality of work and 21 per cent reported increased productivity.
The survey also revealed employers are increasingly embracing flexibility in the remote working setting, as more than half (53 per cent) of employees surveyed indicated they’re able to work a modified schedule in order to meet personal responsibilities that take place during work hours.