Many Canadians are experiencing increased aggression from the public or clients at work and aren’t feeling supported by their employers, according to new research.
The monthly report from LifeWorks found that 20 per cent of Canadians have experienced this type of conflict, with women being 40 per cent more likely to have experienced aggression.
Women also have significantly lower overall mental health scores than men, according to the report.
Despite the increase in conflict, more than a third of individuals said their employers don’t provide support for dealing with aggression.
“It’s critical for employers to take note of how these feelings are materializing among employees,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and CEO of LifeWorks. “Although conflict may be a natural response to stress, it is detrimental to business and employee well being.”
The report attributes some of this hostility to pandemic-related stress, inflation, housing insecurity and tensions from new hybrid work models.
“After a long period of strain, people are more sensitive to stress. This in addition to the current work and economic environment makes for a volatile situation,” said Paula Allen, senior vice president of LifeWorks.
The industries with the lowest mental health score are accommodation and food services, followed by finance and insurance and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
Those employed in professional, scientific and technical services, and transportation and warehousing have the highest mental health scores.
The stress is expected, as nearly one-quarter of working Canadians are having difficulty meeting their basic needs.
Companies can help ease the strain by “acknowledging employee stress, fostering communication, a sense of connection and belonging, providing conflict management training, and promoting individual counselling and support,” Allen said.