Canadians who work from home say they are logging more hours than ever before – and it is taking a toll.
According to a new poll from ADP Canada and Angus Reid, 30 percent of Canadian employees say they have worked more since April 2020. But for those working remotely, overtime soars to 44 percent, and one in ten said they even added an extra day to their work week.
All this extra effort hits the stress levels of the workers. Forty-one percent say they feel more stressed – a 7% increase since the start of the pandemic. And 46% of them say they feel less engaged.
And yet, some workers (42 percent) say they feel more productive. Another 37 percent believe that the quality of their work has actually improved over the past year.
New flexible hours could be the source of these improvements. Sixty-nine percent say they’ve been given the opportunity to work modified hours when personal responsibilities – like virtual school – get in the way.
âAfter a year of monitoring the evolution of workplaces and their response to the pandemic, it appears that many companies have moved to flexible working hours or hybrid work models,â said Ed Yuen, vice-president of strategy and business development at ADP Canada, in a press release. Press release. âWhile many of these policies were a ‘benefit’ a few months ago, they are now commonplace. For some, this flexibility seems to have improved productivity and the quality of work. “
And it seems that many do not want to give up this new flexibility. The survey found that 40% of those who work from home do not want to return to the office at all, with 16% saying they are anxious about the idea.
But perpetual work from home may not be what employers want after the pandemic ends.
For example, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, has repeatedly spoken out against remote working, saying he wants people to come back to the office.
âIt doesn’t work for those who want to push each other. It does not work for the spontaneous generation of ideas. It doesn’t work for culture, âDimon said recently at a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal.
And on Wednesday, the CEO of WeWork said at another Wall Street Journal event that CEOs want people to come back – and only the least engaged employees want to work from home.
âThose who are very committed to the business want to be at the office at least two-thirds of the time,â said Sandeep Mathrani. “Those who are the least engaged are very comfortable working from home.”
Meanwhile, however, remote working persists in four out of ten workplaces in Canada. This means that stress and overwork could very well remain a problem for many employees.
ADP Canada says there are things employers can do to help. He recommends that companies encourage workers to take breaks and vacations and ask for support when needed. Managing overtime expectations is also a good idea.
âBy introducing after-hours work policies or educating about the right to log off, employers can help protect the physical and mental health of employees,â Yuen said.
The ADP Canada survey, conducted online between April 14 and April 15, 2021, sampled 1,501 Canadian workers who are Angus Reid Forum members.