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JOBS Pandemic fallout: Canadian workers losing 41 working days per year to absences and presenteeism: Manulife Wellness Report

Tuesday, 29 March 2022 08:00.AM

- 16% of working hours were lost in 2021 due to health-related absences and presenteeism – that's 41.2 days per employee per year.
- 48% of employees are experiencing at least one work-related mental health risk factor.
- Mental fatigue is the #1 reason employees aren't making healthy choices.
- Lack of work-life balance is the #1 mental health risk factor.
- Work-related stress is the #1 factor affecting employees' sleep. -

Manulife's 2021 Wellness Report highlights how the pandemic is affecting employee health, and underscores that two years into the pandemic, Canadian workers continue to struggle to take care of their health and wellbeing.

"Employee mental health patterns could be K-shaped as we move through the next phase of the pandemic," said Dr. Georgia Pomaki, Director, Mental Health Best Practices, Manulife. "One arm of the K represents employees who are excited about reopening and returning to the office—the other represents a group of employees who are facing mental health challenges and significant fatigue: for this group, a return to office may feel overwhelming. Organizations need to consider both groups to design effective and supportive return to office programs."

The Report highlights that 16% of working hours (41 days) were lost in 2021 due to absences and presenteeism, and close to half (48%) of employees are experiencing at least one work-related mental health risk factor. These findings suggest employers should consider placing significantly more focus on culture and wellness programs in 2022 and beyond, particularly as large employee populations return to Canadian offices in the near future.

It's clear a strong workplace culture positively impacts employee health: the Report shows those organizations scoring highest in healthy workplace culture and wellness initiatives, also achieved the best results across key health indicators.

"The Manulife Wellness Report shows us that mental health supports like virtual psychotherapy, Employee Assistance Programs, and mindfulness sessions translate into employee health and well-being improvements," said Dr. Pomaki. "Organizations can help employees by removing barriers to accessing these benefits, increasing communications about available products and services, and helping reduce the stigma around their use. Given what we have been living through the past two years, if there's ever a time to accelerate these efforts, the time is now."

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation

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