Nearly Three-Quarters (71%) Report Some Degree of Concern About Levels Of Psychological Health and Safety In Their Workplace

More People Feel Physically Safe (20% Concerned) Than Psychologically Safe (33% Concerned) in Their Workplace

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toronto, ON – Nearly three-quarters of employees in Canada (71%) report some degree of ‘concern’ (4% serious/26% significant%/41% minimal) about levels of psychological health and safety in their workplace based on an analysis of over 65 indicators measuring 13 different psychological factors in the work place. Three in ten (29%), however, express generally lower levels of concern, identifying factors related to psychological health and safety in their workplace as potential areas of strengths, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

When asked directly, two in three respondents (68%) ‘agree’ (26% strongly/42% somewhat) that their workplace is a psychologically safe and healthy environment, while 14% of respondents disagree (5% strongly/ 9% somewhat).

Yet, when asked about specific experiences in the work place, the results suggest that Canadian employees often confront negative emotions and states of mind in the workplace. In the past month, a majority of Canadian employees have felt frustrated (84%), exhausted (80%), irritated (80%), angry (70%), bored (66%), anxious (64%), unable to concentrate (64%), confused (53%), and helpless (52%) as a result of their work. Half (50%) of employees say they’ve felt ‘depressed’ (6% often/17% sometimes/27% rarely) in the past month, while the other half (50%) have never felt depressed within the last month. One-third (32%) have felt ‘humiliated’ (2% often/8% sometimes/22% rarely) in the past month, although two-thirds (67%) have never felt this way in the same time period.

While half of employees have felt depressed in the past month, many have been bothered by symptoms of depression more recently. Four in ten (36%) employee say they’ve experienced little interest or pleasure for several days to nearly every day over the last two weeks, while two thirds (65%) haven’t at all experienced these symptoms of depression within the last two weeks. The number of those experiencing little interest or pleasure has declined (-4 pts.) since 2009. One-third (32%) have experienced feeling down, depressed, or hopeless for several days to nearly every day in the last two weeks, compared to seven in ten (68%) who haven’t at all. Similar to those who say they have experience little interest or pleasure in the previous two weeks, those regularly feeling down, depressed, or hopeless has decreased slightly (-3 pts.) since 2009.

The research asked respondents whether they agree or disagree with 65 statements primarily related to psychological health in the workplace, with one category focusing on physical health. The 65 statements were then bundled into 13 categories and analyzed as potential areas of either concern or strength.

The results show that while most respondents may describe their workplace as psychologically safe and healthy, there are significant levels of concern in a variety of areas. For example, more employees are concerned about psychological safety than physical safety in the workplace. One-third (33%) show ‘concern’ (9% serious/24% significant) for their psychological protection in the workplace, compared to only two in ten (20%) who have the same ‘concern’ (5% serious/15% significant) about physical protection. Those most concerned about their psychological protection in the workplace are unionized (40% vs. 30% non-unionized) and middle-aged (36% vs. 30% senior and 29% younger) employees, followed closely by male (35% vs. 32% female) employees and those making between $30-60,000 annually (35% vs. 32% $60-100,000, 32% $100,000+, and 31% less than $30,000).

Other core areas of concern relate to aspects of their organizational culture (38% including 9% as a serious concern), growth and development (38% including 9% as a serious concern) and clarity in leadership and expectations on the job (37% including 7% as a serious concern).

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These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between July 18th to 24th, 2012, on behalf of Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. For this survey a sample of 6,624 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. This includes a total of 4,307 employees and 2,317 managers/supervisors. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 1.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of employed adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

Nearly Three-Quarters (71%) Report Some Degree of Concern About Levels Of Psychological Health and Safety In Their Workplace


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs