Almost two-fifths of Canadians concerned about coworker mental health: report


TORONTO – A new report suggests that nearly two-fifths of Canadian workers are concerned about the mental health of a coworker amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Morneau Shepell Monthly Mental Health Index, 36 percent of Canadians expressed concern about the mental well-being of a coworker.

The report, released Wednesday, suggests the Canadian workforce may be at risk of “long-term adverse effects on mental health” amid the pandemic.

The report also found that 35 percent of supervisors expressed concern about the mental health of their employees and 27 percent said their employees are less productive than they were before the pandemic.

Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president of research and total wellness at Morneau Shepell, said one of the biggest challenges employers face during the COVID-19 pandemic is balancing the effort and impact of employee productivity.

Allen noted in a press release that Morneau Shepell sees positive productivity numbers overall, however, she says it’s the result of working overtime, which has its own negative consequences.

“At a granular level, productivity levels are actually dropping. Putting more hours in translates into less time for rest and personal care and as soon as these cease to be a priority, the mental health of employees suffers – as does the bottom line of the business ” Allen said.

“This demonstrates that the well-being of employees must be a priority in order to ensure sustainability and, ultimately, business continuity,” she added.

In addition to concerns about the mental well-being of colleagues, the index found that ongoing non-essential travel restrictions “increasingly blur the lines between work and home life.”

According to the report, almost half (46%) of respondents did not use all of their vacation time in 2020, compared to 36% who said they used all of their free time.

“This is an important factor in terms of employee mental health, as people without paid leave have the lowest mental health score (-12.6) compared to those who use all of their vacation time (-12 , 0) and those who do not use all their vacation time (-10.9) ”, the report states.


Morneau Shepell’s overall mental health index for December fell for the ninth consecutive month, the index hitting its lowest point since the organization began tracking the mental health of Canadians in April 2020.

The December reading fell 11.8 points from its benchmark of 75 before 2020 due to deteriorating psychological health, depression and productivity at work, showing that the coronavirus pandemic continues to decline. ” have an impact on the mental well-being of Canadians.

As some have adapted to work from home and public health measures, Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of Morneau Shepell, said that “economic uncertainties and anxieties related to work and personal life continue to grow. hit Canadians ”.

“Our collective mental health is at significant risk. It has never been more essential to make a conscious effort to support each other and for employers to emphasize mental and physical health equally to ensure that employees feel heard and supported by the pandemic. continues, ”Liptrap said in the statement.

The index also monitors sub-scores against the pre-pandemic benchmark, including financial risk, psychological health, isolation, work productivity, anxiety, depression and optimism.

Compared to the November report, Morneau Shepell found that all the sub-scores decreased except for financial risk, which improved by 0.3 points.

Optimism (-1.8), isolation (-1.4) and psychological health (-3.3) worsened the most from levels recorded in April 2020, according to the report.


Morneau Shepell’s December report also found that a company’s treatment of its employees and customers, as well as how it responds to social justice issues, are “essential” to brand loyalty.

According to the index, 57% of respondents said the way they think and interact with brands and businesses has been influenced by the way their employees have been treated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The index reported that treating customers also plays a major role in brand loyalty, with 63% of respondents indicating that the way an organization has treated its customers amid the health crisis has influenced the way it envisions and interacts with its brands.

The report noted that this could have “immediate and lasting impacts” on a company’s success.

Additionally, 41% of those polled said the way they interacted with brands and businesses had been influenced by their response to social justice issues, including the skyrocketing awareness of anti-black racism after the death of George Floyd in June 2020.

The report suggests that consumers’ perceptions of social justice issues were particularly affected by those under 40 (51%), compared to those 40 and over (37%).

Morneau Shepell’s latest monthly index is based on a survey with 3,000 responses collected online between November 20 and November 30. All respondents reside in Canada and have been employed within the past six months, according to the index.

The company added that online surveys cannot be given a margin of error because they do not sample the population at random.

Morneau Shepell says the data has been “statistically weighted” to ensure that the regional and gender composition of the sample reflects the Canadian population.


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