On-Site Magazine

Lost: 41 working days per year to absences and presenteeism

By Adam Freill   

Health & Safety

Manulife Wellness Report suggests promotion of mental health support structures to improve employee health and wellbeing.

In its 2021 Wellness Report, Manulife found that 16 per cent of working hours were lost in 2021 due to health-related absences and presenteeism. That’s 41.2 days per employee per year.

The report highlights how the pandemic is affecting employee health, and underscores that two years into the pandemic, Canadian workers continue to struggle to take care of their health and wellbeing.

Findings include that a lack of work-life balance is the leading mental health risk factor, and that work-related stress is the biggest factor impacting employees’ sleep.

Close to half of employees surveyed are experiencing at least one work-related mental health risk factor, and mental fatigue is impacting decision making.


“Employee mental health patterns could be K-shaped as we move through the next phase of the pandemic,” said Dr. Georgia Pomaki, director of mental health best practices at Manulife. “One arm of the K represents employees who are excited about reopening and returning to the office—the other represents a group of employees who are facing mental health challenges and significant fatigue… Organizations need to consider both groups to design effective and supportive return to office programs.”

According to Manulife, the findings suggest employers should consider placing significantly more focus on culture and wellness programs in 2022 and beyond.

“The Manulife Wellness Report shows us that mental health supports like virtual psychotherapy, employee assistance programs, and mindfulness sessions translate into employee health and wellbeing improvements,” said Pomaki. “Organizations can help employees by removing barriers to accessing these benefits, increasing communications about available products and services, and helping reduce the stigma around their use.”




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