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COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in the global workforce like no other issue in recent history. From high unemployment to small business shutdowns, the economic after-effects are still taking their toll as much as the health risks involved. While no country has escaped the impact of COVID-19, it’s important to take a closer look at how the pandemic has affected workers right here in Canada.
We polled Canadian workers aged 25 to 55. More than half of those polled work directly with customers, while 31% work in an office setting, and the remaining 11% work in a factory or warehouse work environment. Here are our findings.
61% of canadian workers lost their jobs
Only 39% of Canadian workers were able to hold onto their job during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Of the number of workers who found themselves unemployed, 49% are still actively looking for work. Even those who managed to hold onto their job despite pandemic-related issues still worry about job security. In fact, a recent study shows that half of the Canadian workers worry about themselves and other family member’s ability to find and keep a stable job.
half of the workforce is working from home
One of the biggest COVID-19 workplace trends is a shift to remote work. Our survey shows that half the Canadian workforce now works from home. While many of these workers feel fortunate to have kept their job, despite the impact of COVID-19, working remotely is not without its struggles.
Not only has remote work forced employees to reexamine their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but they had to find space for a workstation in their home. In some instances, employees have even had to purchase their own equipment and supplies to create a functional workspace at home.
remote work takes its toll
While remote work has allowed many businesses to remain productive despite COVID-19 outbreaks and shutdowns, working from home is taking its toll on workers. Our survey revealed that more than half of remote workers are finding this work environment challenging to say the least.
To make matters worse, more than 40% of the workers polled don’t feel supported by their employer. This lack of support can hinder productivity, decrease employee morale and increase turnover rates, even during a pandemic.
company culture is a game-changer
The good news is that a strong company culture may go a long way to show support to remote workers. At least the 43% of workers who are successfully managing a work-from-home lifestyle claim that the company’s commitment to communication goes a long way toward making remote work manageable.
While some workers confess that they miss the human connection, they are encouraged by frequent communication with team members throughout the day. This high level of collaboration between staff members is a direct result of a solid company culture.
tips for overcoming the impact of COVID-19
It’s impossible to tell when, if ever, the workplace will return to its pre-pandemic state. More than likely trends such as widespread remote work are here to stay, and we’ll never quite return to the way things were. For now, it’s important for employers to take steps to effectively manage their workforce whether working from home or in-person.
There are several things employees can do right now to lessen the burden on their employees and improve workplace outcomes simultaneously.
• take a strong leadership role
Strong leadership is a necessity to establish a successful remote working environment. Your team must know that you and other key leaders are available for support and to answer any questions, just as if they were working at the office. Be sure to have effective and secure communication tools in place to enable team members to connect frequently throughout the workday.
Additionally, employers must take the time to assess their company culture, make adjustments if necessary, and take active steps to promote this culture, even in the midst of a pandemic. Showing your employees that your company is still under strong leadership and creating an identifiable remote culture will boost employee morale, reduce employees’ concerns about job security, and may even boost productivity!
• provide the tools your team needs
The most important thing you can do for your remote workers is to ensure they have the tools and supplies needed to successfully fulfill their job duties. Many workers are under both mental and financial stress due to the pandemic and are unable to create an ideal workspace in their home.
It’s important to survey your team to determine exactly what needs are not being met. For example, some employees may need a proper desk or chair to be productive at home, while others may require a flexible schedule to meet both home and work demands.
• prioritize human connections
Human contact is essential for remote workers. Not only does it fight off loneliness and improve mental health, it also ensures that your team is working in sync despite working from different locations. You can start by encouraging stronger collaboration between teams, set up designated chat times during the day to make sure your entire team is connected, and urge supervisors to hold one-on-one meetings with staff members to assess their needs.