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Work/life unbalanced for Canadians

This article was written by Tammy Burns and published in Benefits Canada.

Many Canadian employees feel like the line between their work and home life is becoming increasingly blurred, according to Randstad’s Global Workmonitor survey.

The overlap between work and private time is substantial. Of those surveyed, 46% said they handle private matters during working hours and 51% said they handle work-related matters during private time. Even vacation time is becoming less defined, with 44% of respondents saying they receive work-related calls or emails when on holiday.

Stacy Parker, executive vice-president of marketing with Randstad Canada, says technology has merged our working and personal lives.

“Technology has redefined the traditional workplace as we know it,” she said. “For instance, employees are working at home, shopping at work, attending school at home, connecting to training webinars at work, and learning new job skills from their children and grandchildren. No generation has ever been this connected, and for good and bad, there is a fusion going on between home and work. We don’t stop living when we go to work and, very often today, we don’t stop working when we arrive home.”

Some Canadians feel they don’t have a choice in their work/life balance; 29% of survey respondents said they’re expected to be available 24/7, while 43% said they feel they fall short of expectations if they don’t respond immediately.

But this kind of work-life conflict can become a serious problem that impacts not only the employee’s well-being, but also the employer’s bottom line. Overworked employees can mean increased employer costs due to high absenteeism, low productivity, and poor workplace commitment and performance, says Randstad.

As well, employers who fail to offer a positive work/life balance may damage their recruiting and retention efforts. Past research by Randstad found that 48% of survey respondents rated work/life balance as one of the most attractive qualities in a potential employer.

“Employers and employees should both take the initiative to take the necessary steps towards achieving a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities,” said Parker. “This helps strengthen employee loyalty, productivity, and overall happiness—making it a win-win scenario for everyone involved.”

This article was written by Tammy Burns and published in Benefits Canada.

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