Most productive place to work also contributing to stress, burnout: Survey

Thirty per cent of managers work 11 hours or more per day

Almost 70 per cent of Canadian office workers and managers report working more than 40 hours a week, and the majority consider the office the most productive place to get work done. 

Forty-three per cent of Canadians say they’re working longer hours simply to catch up on work they couldn’t tackle during an eight-hour day, with 22 per cent working 11 hours or more per day, according to the Workplace Index by Staples Business Advantage Canada, a division of Staples. 

That workload is taking a toll: 

  •        Sixty per cent of Canadians said their workplace has contributed to stress.
  •         More than one-quarter of Canadians (27 per cent) cite the volume of their work as the number one stressor in their workplace.
  •         One in five Canadian respondents (19 per cent) has taken a stress-related leave of absence. 

“Employees are working long hours just to keep up with their volume of work,” said Michael Zahra, president of Staples Business Advantage Canada. “It is the responsibility of employers to therefore provide an inclusive, welcoming environment that boosts employee productivity, increases happiness and positively impacts the bottom line.” 

Despite an increasing number of employees opting for telecommuting and on-demand workspaces, 75 per cent of respondents consider the office the most productive place to get work done. Thirty-seven per cent said it’s the most inspiring place to work as well, more than any other location. 

Sixty-six per cent of respondents said the availability of a wellness program is a selling point when looking for a new job, but 55 per cent said their workplace doesn’t offer one, according to the survey of 1,110 people (468 general officer workers and 542 business decision-makers). 

Seventy-one per cent of respondents said their employers do not give them access to the latest technology to help them do their job more efficiently. 

Workplace distractions also impact productivity, with top responses being loud co-workers, people coming to talk and email overload. Sixty-five per cent of office workers cited loud co-workers as an office distraction, more than any other surveyed group.

The majority of survey respondents described their office as standard, plain and dull. When asked what design features they would like to see in their work spaces, Canadians cited natural light, private spaces, ergonomic furniture and flexible furniture for multiple uses as the most desired elements. 

There is a tremendous opportunity for organizations to focus on and design employee experiences where employees truly want to show up, said Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work, Futurist, and co-founder of the Future of Work Community. 

“Offering employees health and wellness programs, well-designed office environments and up-to-date modern technologies are all a part of that employee experience. This is crucial to be able to attract and retain top talent.” 

Respondents ranked increased salary, improving morale and being recognized for their accomplishments as the best ways for employers to improve their happiness at work. They also stated that feeling heard, being given opportunities for professional development and providing more flexibility are important to workplace happiness. 

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