SURVEY: 44% of remote workers are logging more hours during COVID-19 — which results in a “COVID Tax”

Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

By: Broderick Visser

A survey from ADP Canada and Angus Reid has revealed that many Canadian workers — including those working remotely — are paying a “COVID Tax” — the number of additional hours they are working since the start of the pandemic.

The “tax” impacts 30 per cent of all employed Canadians surveyed — but it is significantly higher for remote workers and has increased over the last year. Nearly 44 per cent of remote workers say they are logging more hours than pre-pandemic times. That figure has doubled since April 2020 when it was only at 21 per cent.

More stress, less engaged employees

Of the 44 per cent of respondents who reported working longer hours, one in ten reported working an additional day or more (8+) hours per week. In comparison, only 15 per cent reported working fewer hours while 38 per cent reported no change.

“Stress levels are also on the rise. According to self-reported figures, stress levels rose seven per cent over the past year, from 34 per cent in April 2020 to 41 per cent in April 2021. Additionally, the survey found that 46 per cent of remote workers surveyed were feeling less engaged with their work since the start of the pandemic,” reads the press release.

“Stress levels are also on the rise. According to self-reported figures, stress levels rose seven per cent over the past year, from 34 per cent in April 2020 to 41 per cent in April 2021. Additionally, the survey found that 46 per cent of remote workers surveyed were feeling less engaged with their work since the start of the pandemic.”

 Ed Yuen, Vice-President Strategy and Business Development at ADP Canada.

Although Canadians are working longer hours and feeling more stressed — 42 per cent of remote workers are feeling more productive and over a third (37 per cent) have noticed an increase in the quality of their work. An increase from April 2020 (19 and 21 per cent last year).

Although, stress isn’t a good thing — even if it means a better work performance.

According to the Mayo Clinic;

“Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.”

Stress also can contribute to headaches, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomachs, sleep problems, depression, lack of motivation or focus, anxiety, drug use or alcohol misuse, tobacco use and social withdrawal among others.

“The survey also revealed greater recognition for employees’ personal responsibilities, as boundaries between work and home have blurred. Over half (53%) of employed Canadians indicated their employer enables them to work a modified schedule when they must fulfill personal responsibilities during work hours.”

46 per cent of employed Canadians reported their employer instituted initiatives to support mental health and wellness at their workplace during COVID-19. On the other hand, seven-in-ten (69%) said their employer had not instituted any initiatives to help with fatigue related to video-conferencing platforms.

“An online survey of 1501 working Canadians (including those working full and part-time) was completed between April 14th and April 15th, 2021, among members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20,” reads the press release.


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