'For so many of us, anxiety and exhaustion are at an all-time high'
Thirty-five per cent of Canadians are feeling burned out.
This is “a cause for concern,” says Mary Ann Baynton, director of collaboration and strategy at Workplace Strategies for Mental Health at Canada Life.
"It's not surprising though – considering we're once again faced with extreme uncertainty as the pandemic rollercoaster continues. For so many of us, anxiety and exhaustion are at an all-time high."
Nearly half of Canadians (48 per cent) say they are more stressed to start 2022 than during the first lockdowns in 2020, according to another report.
Workers in the following industries are reporting levels of burnout higher than the national average, according to the Canada Life report:
- health and patient care (53 per cent)
- transportation (40 per cent)
- finance, legal and insurance (39 per cent)
- education and childcare (38 per cent)
- first responders (36 per cent)
Within the health and patient care industry, 66 per cent of nurses and 61 per cent of mental health professionals report burnout.
Mental health support lacking
Only a third of respondents indicate their company is committed to a low-stress environment, according to the study conducted by Mental Health Research Canada in December 2021.
"We're troubled about the many respondents who singled out the lack of psychological supports at work," said Michael Cooper, vice-president, Mental Health Research Canada. "With the pandemic, it's more important than ever for employers to consider new leadership approaches to help those employees most at risk of burnout. The consequences of not doing so are significant."
Asked to rank their organization's support for mental health on a scale of one to 10, employees give an average rating of 4.4 — an "F" on the corresponding academic grading scale, according to another report.
Here are some ways employers can prevent burnout among employers, according to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health:
- Provide clear expectations for all employees and obtain confirmation that each employee understands those expectations.
- Make sure employees have the necessary resources and skills to meet expectations.
- Provide ongoing training to employees to maintain competency.
- Help employees understand their value to the organization and their contributions to the organization's goals.
- Enforce reasonable work hours, including, if necessary, sending employees without good boundaries home at the end of their regular workday.
- Help assess workload for those who feel pressured to remain working beyond normal business hours.
- Set reasonable and realistic expectations. Organizations should be clear as to which activities require the highest standards and when it is okay to lower the bar and still meet business needs.