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Canadians say flexible work is more important than career progression

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ID-CORP / ID-MH / Mental Health / Canada

Canadians say flexible work is more important than career progression

More than half (55 per cent) of Canadian employees prioritize flexible work over career progression, finds LifeWorks Mental Health Index™

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™, showing that the mental health of Canadians experienced the largest single month decline since October 2020, and one of the largest declines since the pandemic started. The overall mental health score for January 2022 was -11.3 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, representing a level not seen in eight months and among the lowest scores during the pandemic.

Canadians prioritize flexible work over career progression

  • More than half (55 per cent) of working Canadians say that flexible work is most important to them, compared to one-quarter (24 per cent) indicating that career progression is the most important.
  • When asked about mental health support provided by employers, 33 per cent of respondents say that flexibility is the most important action that their employer has taken to support mental health.
  • Twenty per cent say that making them feel more valued is most important.
  • Seventeen per cent say that empathy is most important to supporting mental health.

Comments from president and chief executive officer, Stephen Liptrap
“The pandemic has created a lot of change in our lives, which has resulted in Canadians shifting their priorities. Many employees are now placing more importance on workplace flexibility – when, where and how they work – rather than career progression, which often includes compensation, promotions and professional development. As more organizations return to the office, it is important for employers to find new ways of supporting employees in this new environment.”

Recognition, peer relationships and salary are the top drivers of belonging at work

  • The top response is that recognition or appreciation is the most important aspect of feeling a sense of belonging at work.
  • The second most prevalent response is that co-worker relationships are the most important.
  • Employees who report workplace relationships as the most important aspect of feeling a sense of belonging at work have higher mental health, work productivity, isolation and financial risk scores than national averages.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen
“With so many working Canadians still feeling the isolation and other mental health effects of working from home, more employers are paying attention to how connected their workforce feels to their organizations, if their employees feel a sense of belonging. Our research has shown that there’s a high correlation between the levels of belonging and productivity. This becomes especially important when we observe how much our mental health benefits from our relationships with colleagues and general interactions. Nearly 20 per cent of Canadians working at the jobsite say their biggest challenge is dealing with difficult people. Increased interpersonal tension is a bi-product of long term strain. This has been particularly difficult for those dealing with a public that is on edge.”

The full Canadian LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here.

About the Mental Health Index
The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey in English and French from January 13 and 26, 2022, with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

About LifeWorks
LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals. We deliver a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.


Heather MacDonald

Jennifer Farr
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks