Recession robs Canadians of sleep, productivity

Wed May 6, 2009 6:16pm EDT
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By Ashleigh Patterson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Stressed-out Canadians are losing sleep over the protracted economic meltdown, a survey showed on Wednesday, and that's translating into heightened anxiety and a drop in productivity on the job.

About one-third of 1,062 employees surveyed by Desjardins Financial Security said they are more stressed than a year ago, with economic worries being the main cause.

Another 30 percent confessed they were suffering from tension-related symptoms such as anxiety, headaches and a lack of sleep.

Workers are fearful the recession will last much longer than economists have predicted, with 47 percent believing the downturn will extend well into next year.

Many employees are logging longer hours at the office, but productivity is suffering as recession-weary workers buckle under the stress, said Michele Nowski, director of disability claims and disability management with Desjardins, which specializes in insurance and retirement savings products.

"Productivity can have a significant impact on an organization's bottom line and while the employee may not necessarily be absent from work, they may not be present 100 percent at work either," Nowski said.

Canadians are increasingly weary of layoffs, and indicate that money, workload and job security as the three biggest worries in their lives, the survey said.

It noted that mental health issues are now the fastest growing reason for days lost in the workplace.   Continued...