The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance (CISWP) at Conestoga College has released a brief report and set of infographics detailing the initial key findings from its nationwide research study examining the impacts of work-from-home (WFH) arrangements on the health and well-being of the Canadian workforce.
“Statistics Canada reported a peak of 5.4 million Canadians in a WFH arrangement during the COVID-19 pandemic so we aimed to capture how Canadians are faring, and the impact that WFH has had on their health and well-being,” explained Dr. Amin Yazdani, CISWP director.
Conducted in parallel with La Trobe University in Australia, the team surveyed Canadians across the country between October and December 2020.
“Questions focused on respondents’ mental and physical health, and work-life conflict associated with their WFH experience during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Amy Hackney, CISWP scientist and project manager for the study.
The initial descriptive analysis reveals that nearly three-quarters of people experience pain or discomfort at the end of their work day, nearly half are often or always worn out, and a quarter of respondents feel they have more work-life conflict now than before the pandemic.
It was also found that females experience more frequent and severe body pain than males, those who are required to care for others report more work-life conflict than those who do not, and individuals in the education and public administration sectors experience more cognitive stress, including difficulties concentrating and difficulty thinking clearly, than those in other industries.
Despite indications that Canadians are experiencing feelings of burnout and stress, pain and discomfort, and work-life conflicts with their WFH arrangements, if given the option to WFH after the threat of COVID-19 subsides, more than 70 per cent preferred to continue to work from home three or more days a week.
Yazdani added that it is important to note the results presented in the report are preliminary findings and further analysis will be conducted on the data in the weeks to come.
With many Canadians working from home for more than 12 months now, CISWP will distribute a follow-up survey in May 2021. Individuals who agreed to be contacted after completing the first survey will be contacted for the follow-up. The survey will aim to determine if and how their experiences have changed over time.
“We hope to use these results to help organizations develop strategies and guidelines for supporting their WFH workforce,” said Yazdani.
CISWP is also conducting another study funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to expand current knowledge on the impact of WFH arrangements on personal and organizational performance and productivity.
The initial key findings report from the national WFH survey is available on the CISWP website.
The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance, located within Conestoga's School of Business, works to improve the safety, wellness, and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development - all in collaboration with stakeholders.