Majority of Canadian employees feel employer has duty to keep them healthy

Around 80 per cent of Canadian employees surveyed feel their employer has a responsibility to keep them mentally and physically healthy, according to findings from a survey released by Staples Inc.

The survey, which queried more than 500 full-time Canadian employees, also found that 36 per cent had taken a mental-health day and 72 per cent feel workplace stress depletes their health and vitality.

In looking deeper at workplace stress, 60 per cent of respondents said it inhibits learning and growth. On the other hand, 24 per cent said it enhances performance and productivity, while a similar number felt the effects of stress are positive.

Read: Employees divided on productivity, stress of work-space configurations: survey

The survey also looked at the trend of working remotely, finding that employees spend 72 per cent of their working time in an office on average. The remainder include time spent working at home, in co-working spaces and public places and travelling or doing work in the field.

More than one-third of respondents (35 per cent) reported their employer allowing dedicated days to work remotely. A large number of employees do expect that option, with 40 per cent saying it’s something they look for when seeking a new job.

“Today’s office environments have to accommodate a wide range of employee needs and expectations,” said Michael Zahra, president of Staples Business Advantage Canada, in a news release.

Employees in the finance and technology industries had the highest prevalence of remote work options, with 38 per cent and 52 per cent of workers in those sectors, respectively, having the privilege. Education workers had the lowest prevalence of remote work options, at 14 per cent.

Read: Open offices can have unintended consequences on workers, study finds

Limiting distractions is a major factor for working remotely, with 57 per cent saying they sometimes do so because it removes disturbances they experience at the office.

Distractions were more common in open-office settings, with 45 per cent of workers queried reporting overhearing personal conversations and 34 per cent hearing personal phone calls. Some 39 per cent of open-office workers said the design of their office space creates distractions that make focusing on work difficult, compared to 18 per cent of those in closed settings.

Nevertheless, more than three-quarters of those surveyed work in an open or semi-open office setting, with 69 per cent saying their setup allows them to work efficiently.