Is the pandemic damaging work relationships?

Many Canadians say experiences with managers, peers worse than before health crisis

Is the pandemic damaging work relationships?

Manager and peer relationships among many Canadians were not great before the pandemic, and have since deteriorated further.

That’s according to a survey by LifeWorks that finds 11 per cent of Canadians saying experiences with their manager have not been positive since the pandemic began, up by two per cent from before the health crisis.

And 10 per cent say that experiences with their work peers have not been positive since the pandemic began, an increase of four per cent since the start of the pandemic.

As the pandemic continues, the average employee engagement score has dropped 18 per cent compared to last year, and workplace culture has seen major drops in other areas, according to a recent report from O.C. Tanner.

But managers may have had it worse: 40 per cent more likely than non-managers to report serious physical health issues or concerns that they will develop a chronic issue, according to the report.

The mental health score of managers is -10.4 compared to -9.9 for non-managers. Managers also have a greater increase in mental stress (57.2) than non-managers (55.4). 

More than eight in 10 (82 per cent of) business leaders report exhaustion indicative of burnout, and 96 per cent of those say that their mental health has declined, according to a previous report.

Mental health declines

Overall, 23 per cent of Canadians report poorer mental health than before the pandemic, according to LifeWorks’ survey of 3,000 respondents in October.

Nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) say that work hinders their mental wellbeing, up from one in five pre-pandemic. And 22 per cent say the same about their physical wellbeing, up from 20 per cent.

Nearly one in five (19 per cent) report a decline in their physical health since the health crisis began, and 25 per cent report serious physical health issues or concerns that they will develop a chronic issue.

Companies that prioritize employee wellbeing in every aspect of the business not only have a healthy workforce but a healthy bottom line, according to a report.

Improving employee relations

Maintaining strong relations between managers and employees is key to the success of any business or organization, according to Indeed.

“Strong employee relations can create higher satisfaction, more productive employees and a motivated workplace. Learning how to improve and maintain positive employee relations can help you create a healthy work environment.”

Indeed also notes some ways businesses can improve employee relations:

  • Create an open dialogue.
  • Communicate the company’s mission and vision.
  • Make employees feel valued.
  • Promote work-life balance.
  • Offer career development opportunities.

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