Survey shows "workaholic" label is losing its luster as Canadians seek more time with family



    
     Gap emerging between Canadians' personal values and workplace values

    -   Nearly 80% of Canadians do not consider themselves "workaholics"
    -   Family (54%), honesty (25%) and good health (23%) are the values most
        important to Canadians while work (10%) and money (5%) are among the
        least important.
    -   For 74% of Canadians, families are where they derive their values
        from.
    -   Almost two-thirds of Canadian workers (65%) believe there is a gap
        between workplace and personal values.
    -   Only 27% of Canadians are convinced that work-life balance is
        possible.
    

    TORONTO, April 24 /CNW/ - Bragging rights about being a workaholic may be
coming to an end and being replaced by a focus on the family according to a
study published today by Desjardins Financial Security. The study found that
over 20% of Canadians now consider themselves to be a workaholic. When asked
about the values most important to Canadians, 54% of Canadians listed family
while work was only listed by 10% of Canadians.
    Despite hectic work schedules, Canadians are working hard to put these
family values into practice. Approximately 72% of Canadians plan vacations and
72% are having regular meals with their families and friends.
    Canadians are not convinced that the priority they are placing on family
is being fully supported by their workplaces. While many companies are
implementing programs to promote work/life balance for their employees, the
study results show that 65% of Canadians feel that the values at their
workplace are not in tune with their personal values.
    According to the survey one-quarter (25%) of Canadians are assured that
their organization "walks the talk" when it comes to work-life balance and
only 29% feel their employer truly cares about their work-life balance.
    "Despite the general perception that work is increasingly defining us,
this study shows that Canadians' priority is still their family," says
Dr. David Goldbloom, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
    "This gap between employees' values and their workplace values is a
warning sign to employers. If employees do not feel that they can balance
their work and their personal priorities such as their families, not only are
we going to see the number of Canadians struggling with mental health issues
increase, but we are also going to face an employee base who are resentful,
disengaged and stressed," says Dr. Irvin Wolkoff, a psychiatrist in private
practice in Toronto, and a commentator on mental health in the psychiatric and
international community.
    Released in anticipation of the Canadian Mental Health Association's
(CMHA) National Mental Health Week (May 7-13th), the study sponsored by
Desjardins Financial Security explores Canadians' perceptions of and
experiences with mental health both at home and at work.
    "With the war for talent in Canada escalating, employers cannot afford to
ignore the needs of their employees. What we are seeing is that there is no
longer a right employee for the job, but rather a right workplace and job for
an employee," says Alain Thauvette, Senior Vice President of Group and
Business Insurance at Desjardins Financial Security. "Employers who tune their
workplace policies and culture to complement and support employee values will
attract the best and brightest talent."
    Despite the fact that Canadians want to put family first, many are
beginning to question whether balance is possible. Although 81% of Canadians
want to achieve work-life equilibrium, only 27% of respondents are convinced
that work-life balance is attainable in our society and only 17% strongly
believe our society supports its workers having good work-life balance.
    This scepticism is leading Canadians to cope with stress instead of deal
with the sources of stress head-on. Canadians report that when they are
stressed, 43% do physical activities, 16% talk to someone they trust, 13% read
a book and 11% engage in a relaxing activity such as yoga. Only two percent
reduce their working hours and only 14% talk to their supervisors about their
concerns regarding work/life balance.
    "I'm not surprised to see that Canadians are frustrated in their attempts
to create a balance between their work and the rest of their lives - they
don't feel it's possible because of their workplaces," says Glenn Thompson,
CEO of CMHA, National. "But our experience is showing us that more and more
businesses are seeing the benefits of supporting work-life balance.
Ultimately, a mentally healthy employee is more productive and has fewer
absences, making mental health a wise investment for employers."
    The Canadian Mental Health Association's 56th annual National Mental
Health Week (May 7-13) is presented this year by Desjardins Financial
Security. Desjardins Financial Security will also be sponsoring the
Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference being held at the Rotman School
of Management on May 3rd and 4th, 2007.
    For more information please visit:
    www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com/cool

    About the Survey
    SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted the survey on behalf
of Desjardins Financial Security between February 12th and March 14th, 2007.
In total, 1,508 interviews were conducted with a representative sample of
Canadian adults. The sampling plan provides proportional estimates with a
maximum margin of error of plus or minus 2.6% at a 95% confidence level (19
times out of 20). The data was statistically weighted to accurately reflect
the composition of Canadians by region, gender and age based on Statistics
Canada's 2001 Census information.

    About Desjardins Financial Security
    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in group
and individual life and health insurance, and savings products and services.
Every day, over 5 million Canadians rely on Desjardins Financial Security to
ensure their financial security. With a staff of over 3,700 employees,
Desjardins Financial Security manages and administers close to $20 billion in
assets from offices in major cities across the country, including Vancouver,
Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Levis, Halifax and
St. John's.





For further information:

For further information: Sandra Nunes, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-4611,
sandra.nunes@hillandknowlton.ca; Amy Diniz, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-4696,
amy.diniz@hillandknowlton.ca


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