Canadian workers feel more stressed and less appreciated

It's been a long, hot summer but now it's back to business as usual and work-related stress. And according to the Desjardins Financial Security National Health Survey, Canadian workers are definitely feeling stressed.

For the most part, Canadians are feeling healthy and financially fit, but close to 30 per cent feel more stress now than last year. When prompted, survey participants said that their top stressors were an insufficient salary (30 per cent), work overload (27 per cent), a lack of recognition (22 per cent) and a negative work environment (22 per cent). Only 14 per cent named work-life imbalance as a source of stress. On the positive side, participants are taking proactive steps to managing their work-related stress. The changes include relaxing their personal need for excellence or perfection at work, adopting new working styles and being more realistic about urgent deadlines. Others have also made personal lifestyle changes, which include effectively managing personal priorities, adopting healthier eating habits and getting more rest.

"The good news from the survey is that employees are taking steps to improve their stress levels," says Michele Nowski, director of disability income claims and disability management with Desjardins Financial Security. "It's important to be good to yourself, which is the secret to managing your stress."

While most survey respondents said they were passionate about their work (74 per cent), loved their co-workers (75 per cent) and were generally satisfied with their jobs (76 per cent), only 32 per cent felt that their employer helped them better manage their stress at work. They suggested that their employers needed to provide better recognition (36 per cent), provide employees with better work tools (19 per cent), improve the work environment and working conditions overall (31 per cent and 26 per cent respectively). By contrast, 88 per cent of employers who responded to the 2009 survey felt that their organization supported their employees' work-life balance fairly or very well.

Similar to last year's survey results, we're seeing an expectations gap between employers and employees," says Nowski. "Employees and employers are not struggling with the same work-related issues. While it seems simple enough to suggest providing better recognition and improving the work environment, ultimately the best way to tackle this issue is through teamwork and communication."

For more information on the Desjardins Financial Security National Survey results, visit

Ad Hoc Recherche conducted this web survey on behalf of Desjardins Financial Security from March 18 to 23, 2010. In total, 1 769 interviews were conducted with a sample of Canadian workers. The data was weighted to reflect the distribution of the Canadian population in terms of the country's main regions (Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, British-Columbia), and in relation to gender distribution in Canada.

Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Qu├ębec and Ontario, and its subsidiaries across Canada, the Desjardins Group offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million members and clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty insurance, in Personal Services, in Business and Institutional Services. As one of the largest employers in the country, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of over 6,200 elected officers.