Feeling overworked? You’re not alone

Are you worried about your job security and well-being? You should be because no one else is. The increased pressure corporations are under to produce and perform with less staff, is creating a nation of exhausted employees saddled with to much work.

Is it fair?  No.

Can we do something about it? Absolutely.

We work hard

A staggering 89 per cent of Canadians say they’re overworked. A recent study by Towers Watson, reveals excessive workloads, lack of work-life balance, unclear or conflicting job expectations and inadequate staffing as the top sources of workplace stress. This inevitably means less time to eat healthy, spend time with family or get any exercise. What’s most surprising is the number of people feeling run off their feet at work is up 26 per cent since a similar report was last conducted in 2009.

This is costing corporations.

In 2011, health and productivity expenses as a percentage of payroll totaled just over 17 per cent in Canada, up from 12.6 per cent in 2009. This year 1 out of 4 companies in Canada say they will financially award employees who take proactive steps and enroll in company administered health management programs.

But is it enough?

Times are tough

The main driver is the potential of another recession. A lack of security in the economy is translating directly into “you could lose your job at any time.”   Who can blame a worker for feeling that way, last month Statistics Canada announced our unemployment edged up to 7.3%, debunking the attitude that our labour picture is improving.

Workers feel they have no choice but to bow to their boss’s demands. Who’s going to request vacation time if the company’s recently fired part of its workforce. And, how can anyone ask for a raise if the earnings reports continue to show the company is making dismal profits.

But there are a number of social factors that also contribute to why we are stressed. The need for bigger, better and right now, is keeping us in jobs we don’t want.

What are you going to do about it?

The first step is recognizing that you’re in a situation that’s is making you feel overworked. It’s the only way you’re going to make any real change. Then it’s about understanding what about your job makes you feel stressed. Long hours, to much work, less pay- it’s probably a combination of all three.  The next is to set a timetable to get out and actively seek a way to change your lifestyle.

A friend of mine quit her high-powered corporate job in Toronto to start a business in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario’s wine country. The process did not happen overnight she had been thinking about it for years. But after taking the leap of faith and opening up a Bed and Breakfast she confesses she feels much more in control of her life.

Now, reading this you’re thinking it’s not realistic for you to quit your job and start a business in another town. But the time to start making a change is today. Envision where you want your life to be and how you want to get there.

I’m amazed by the number of people who say they’re stressed and keep long hours, but when I investigate what’s giving them anxiety; it’s actually their daily commutes. Or, how many people say they hate their boss, but really they hate what they are doing at work. Their boss is just a constant reminder that they don’t want to be there.

Another study found Toronto had the longest average commute in Canada. It takes Torontonians on average 80 minutes roundtrip to get to and from work.  Montrealers commute is only four minutes less. Stress levels also increased with commute times. Some 36 per cent of commuters who need more than 45 minutes to get to and from work each day said their days were “quite or extremely stressful.

Could this be part of the problem?

The truth behind the stress

Our addiction to bigger homes, bigger cars and more things means we’re working more hours and taking longer to get from home and back. If you change where you live you will change your life. Moving to a smaller home means a smaller mortgage and less stress to pay it. Moving closer to work means a shorter and cheaper commute and more time and money to spend on what we really care about. We have to start being a community again and spending more time taking care of family and ourselves, rather then the bottom line of corporations.

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