Generally speaking, Canadian workers are feeling healthy and financially fit. But close to 30 per cent are feeling more work-related stress now than last year, according to the 2010 Desjardins Financial Security National Health Survey.

When prompted, survey participants said that their top stress inducers 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 making changes to manage the pressure including:


  • Relaxing their personal need for perfection;

  • Adopting new work styles, and;

  • Becoming more realistic about meeting urgent deadlines.

Others have also made personal lifestyle changes, which include managing personal priorities more effectively, 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,” said 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 their employer helped them to reduce 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 and 26 per cent respectively). By contrast, 88 per cent of employers who responded to the 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," said 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."