Work can be very stressful: meeting deadlines, trying to organize group projects with a team that does not get along, an overbearing boss, and everything in between. The idea of a stressful work place is a common trope for a reason: many people are feeling the pressure to perform in their office and the workload can seem practically endless. What people may not realize is that over-working yourself and taking no breaks can begin to seriously wear down on you, even to the point where you can “burn out” or require some kind of medical leave.

This year, the World Health Organization identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” which impacts many workers worldwide across many different industries. It defines burnout as a diagnosis of a worker who is feeling constantly depleted and exhausted, less motivated to do one’s job and a severe lack of passion in the work as well as experiencing reduced professional efficacy. This burnout can especially worsen as many Canadians begin working multiple jobs to keep up with the soaring costs of living in major urban centers.

This report will explore the workplace stress statistics in Canada. We will analyze the burnout rates in the country and the negative impacts it can have on Canadians’ mental and physical well-beings.

Workplace Stress Statistics in Canada

According to a report by Statistics Canada, the biggest source of stress for Canadians by far was work with a significant 62 percent. Following that was finances and time at 12 percent (which can both often relate to the workplace), family at 8 percent and other reasons at 6 percent.

Source: Statistics Canada; “Infographic: Work-Related Stress”

The workplace stress statistics went further to explain that 27 percent of Canadians experience extreme levels of stress on a daily basis and that over 1 in 4 workers reported to be highly stressed. Roughly 47 percent of Canadian workers claimed to feel “a bit of stress” on a daily basis at the work place. As far as stressed out working Canadians go, low income workers had the tendency to report a lower amount of general stress whereas high income workers reported high stress.

WORKPLACE STRESS STATISTICS: 62% of Canadians claim work is their largest source of stress

Burnout Statistics in Canada

In a separate survey conducted by accounting and financial consulting firm Accountemps, it was found that more than 9 in 10 Canadians workers feel “burned out”. The survey recorded the responses of 600 senior managers that oversaw 20 or more employees, as well as 400 workers that are 18 years or older. Both managers and employees acknowledged that there was burnout and that it is a workplace issue, though they seemed to have different ideas about what was causing this burnout.

According to the workers, the causes of burnout could be listed out as:

Constant interruptions
Interruptions prevent workers from completing the large amount of work they are assigned on a regular basis.
Unmanageable workload
The workload exceeds the worker’s expectations.
Career stagnation
The worker is unable to move up in the company or grow in any career fulfilling way.
Toxic culture
The worker feels uncomfortable by the business environment.
Dated technology
The worker believes the technologies used are inefficient and outdated.

The authors of the study emphasized the need for workplaces to put their employees’ well-being higher on their list of priorities to limit negative impacts for both the company and for their workers.

WORKPLACE STRESS STATISTICS: 9 out of 10 Canadian workers feel like they’re burned out from work

How to Reduce Workplace Stress

It is clear that stress in the workplace is a stark reality that many Canadians face on a daily basis. The phenomenon of workplace “burnout” is so common and widely recognized that the World Health Organization has made it into a formal condition that workers suffer from and has given it an official definition. It is not just employees who recognize this problem of an over-worked generation, senior managers and business owners also recognize workplace stress as a very real problem that negatively impacts everyone in the workforce.

As the employers of these stressed out workers, companies have a responsibility to establish a decent working environment that can address these workplace issues. Managers can work to identify common workplace stressors or encourage their employees to come forward if there is an issue in the workplace that can be addressed.

Employees should also feel that they are heard and have access to either counselors or some mental health resources to combat stress. A recent trend among businesses is to implement telehealth services and allow employees to consult with mental health professionals in an accessible ways. With this virtual healthcare system, employees are able to reduce their workplace stress through professional guidance and advice.

WORKPLACE STRESS TRIVIA: Workplace stress affects both managers and employees of the business

The Consequences of Workplace Stress

There are many negative side effects for employees who work in a stressful environment for too long. For one, there are long-term health effects such as depression, heart disease and can also lead to substance abuse as workers find a coping mechanism.

Elevated levels of stress can also lead to digestive issues, skin conditions and overall negatively impacted mental health. The impacts go beyond the health of the worker, they can impact the performance of the company as well. The more burnout that workers suffer from, the less productive the workplace will be. Increased amounts of stress in the workplace can lead to further issues, such as stress or sick leave for workers.

A stressful work environment can also lead to higher rates of turnover, which causes more strain on the company as they are constantly having to seek out new employees, train them according to workplace policy and procedure, and can seriously impact the company’s productivity and output during these turnover interim periods.

There are lasting effects to both the health of the worker and the well-being of the company if high stress goes unchecked, such as long-term negative health impacts for the worker and productivity issues for the company. In this fast-paced highly technological world where tight deadlines are a regular concept and people feel the pressure of being connected all of the time, it can be difficult to avoid workplace stress. The first step for many workplaces is to address the problem and consult with their employees to begin working towards a holistic solution.

WORKPLACE STRESS TRIVIA: Low-income workers tend to report less workplace stress than high-income workers
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