4 in 10 workers 'less motivated' since COVID-19 crisis

New data suggest Canadians are seeing a decline in their mental health

4 in 10 workers 'less motivated' since COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis continues to strain the mental health of Canadian workers as the pandemic crosses the six-month mark.

Nearly four in 10 employees report having difficulty staying motivated (36%) while a third struggle with staying focused at work (34%) now more than they did before the crisis.

These trends are driven by concerns about the second wave, subsequent lockdowns, and overall uncertainty of life in the new normal, data from mental wellness specialist Morneau Shepell showed.

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“Motivation is impacted by ongoing strain,” said Paula Allen, senior vice president of research, analytics and innovation at the firm.

“A decline in motivation suggests emotional exhaustion. Right now, we have two main things driving that exhaustion. We are often not balancing work with fun, social contact and exploration.

“Rest is also important but we need more than rest to have balance. Additionally, some are working more and others are experiencing work as more draining because of concerns about job security or needing to deal with multiple mental and situational distractions, on top of the actual work.

“Both types of issues can be helped with planning and getting coaching or counselling,” Allen said.

Read more: COVID-19: How to protect employee mental health

Canadians’ Mental Health Index score is -10, “highlighting an uneven pattern since the start of the pandemic,” the firm said. “The survey reported modest increases from April to July, a decline in August and a return to July’s score (-10) in September.”

The index also tracks sub-scores on financial risk (3.1), psychological health (-1.9), isolation (-9.7), work productivity (-10.8), anxiety (-11.5), depression (-11.8) and optimism (-12.3).

Financial risk, for one, fell after several months of improvement, the firm said.

“The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is well under way, with case counts rapidly increasing and many provinces seriously assessing the need to revert back to previous lockdown measures,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and CEO of Morneau Shepell.

“As we look to the coming months, it’s critical that governments and organizations recognize the risk that the impending isolation will have on Canadians’ well-being and take proactive action.

“If Canadians’ mental health and well-being needs are not addressed, the resilience of our country will face a significant long-term threat,” Liptrap said.


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