Canadian employees report increase in conflict and aggression at work

Are employees well-prepared in handling conflict or aggression from the public?

Canadian employees report increase in conflict and aggression at work

Conflict is becoming recurring in workplaces, according to a new report, and employers need to do something about if they want to promote their employees' wellbeing. A new LifeWorks report revealed that 20% of Canadians have experienced increased conflict and/or aggression when dealing with public or clients.

Among the study's respondents, women are 40% more likely than men to have experienced this, while managers are also 60% more likely to face these kinds of situations.

Despite these troubles, however, the report also found that only 44% of organisations provide training, coaching, or support to help deal with conflict and/or aggression. About 34% said their organisations do not provide such, while 21% said they are unsure about it.

Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of LifeWorks, attributed the increasing levels of conflict and/or aggression to the shifting working arrangements amid the pandemic and other external factors.

"We are seeing heightened levels of workplace stress as tensions rise in the wake of newly enforced hybrid operating models. Other outside contributing stressors, such as inflation, are also impacting people in their daily lives," the CEO said in a statement.

Despite this, it remains important that employers monitor their employees and their well-being regarding the emerging aggressions in the workplace.

"It's critical for employers to take note of how these feelings are materialising among employees. Although conflict may be a natural response to stress, it is detrimental to business and employee wellbeing," Liptrap said.

How should employers respond?

Addressing the gap on training could be the key to help employees on how they could manage the stress brought about by varying factors.

"To mitigate risk and ensure employees feel safe and supported, providing ongoing training and tailored resources is key," said Liptrap.

Read more: Office relationships become latest pandemic casualty

Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, added in a statement that acknowledging employees' struggles and fostering a culture of connection can help teams address incidents of aggression or conflict.

"Organisations can help by acknowledging employee stress, fostering communication, a sense of connection and belonging, providing conflict management training, and promoting individual counselling and support," said Allen.

Other findings

Meanwhile, the latest LifeWorks study also revealed that mental health of working Canadians has been "strained for more than two years."

It also found that 42% of managers would prefer if their employees worked under a hybrid work arrangement. About 30% said they want them working remotely, while only 23% prefer their employees to return full-time to the office.

According to the report, Canadians below 40 years old are also four times more likely to have changed careers or moved to a new city amid the pandemic. They are also nearly three times more likely to have switched jobs amid the ongoing health crisis.

The report added that women are 75% more likely to have moved to a new city, while managers and parents were 50% more likely to have changed careers.

For those who made changes during the pandemic, however, 88% of them said they have no regrets.

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