Kitchener-Waterloo

Canadians working from home experiencing burnout, physical discomfort, work-life conflict: survey

Canadians working from home during the pandemic say they’re experiencing more burnout, irritation, physical discomfort and work-life conflict than they were pre-pandemic. That’s according to early findings from a national work-from-home survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College.

Survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College

The survey found that working from home is impacting the mental health of Canadians. (Girts Ragelis/Shutterstock)

Canadians working from home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic say they're experiencing more burnout, irritation, physical discomfort and work-life conflict than they were pre-pandemic.

That's according to early findings from a national work-from-home survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College.

It examined the impacts of working from home on the health and well-being of people.

Local researchers teamed up with La Trobe University in Australia to survey more than 1,600 people across Canada between October and December of 2020. Almost 80 per cent of respondents are from Ontario and 70 per cent identified as women.

Respondents worked in a spectrum of industries including education, science, public administration and healthcare.

Some key findings include:

  • 80 per cent of people reported being worn out at the end of a work day.
  • 70 per cent of people felt tense or irritated at work.
  • 70 per cent of people said they feel pain or discomfort at the end of the work day, more specifically in the neck, shoulders and back. Individuals reported they spend an average of 83 per cent of their time sitting while working. Women with childcare responsibilities reported more physical pain.
  • 36 per cent of people said their demands at work interfered with their home and family life. People with children or dependents reported more work-home conflicts.
  • People who work in education and public administration said they experience more stress.

Despite the added challenges, 70 per cent of people surveyed said they prefer to continue working from home three or more days a week if given the opportunity.

Recommendations

Amin Yazdani, director of the institute, said organizations must consider the demands of people working from home and provide adequate training and supports to keep workers safe.

Amin Yazdani is the director of the Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness and Performance at Conestoga College's School of Business (Submitted by Amin Yazdani)

He said ergonomically-designed technology is crucial to reduce risk of workplace injuries in the future. He said providing organizational social support is also important to enhance satisfaction and success.

Yasdani said the local research team is following up with respondents in May to see if their experiences have changed over time. They plan on sharing their findings in a series of webinars this summer.

The institute is also conducting another research project focused on work-from-home arrangement's impacts on personal and organization performance and productivity.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now