Royal Bank of Canada is giving staff an extra day off this year as workers report feeling more burnt out than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
“Many of you have told us you’re feeling more exhausted now than at any point in this crisis, and I know this reality is having an impact on friends, partners, colleagues, and family members,” RBC CEO Dave McKay said in a company-wide email Thursday morning.
“We need to eliminate the stigma associated with asking for time to focus, concentrate, and in some cases, log-off and recharge. So, please prioritize taking care of yourself.”
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Exhaustion and stress have been more prevalent among Canada’s workforce compared to the global average, according to Microsoft’s latest annual Work Trend Index.
The report published in March was based on a January survey among 31,092 full-time or self-employed workers across 31 countries. It said nearly half of Canadian workers (47 per cent) reported feeling exhausted, compared to the 39 per cent global average. It also found that in a typical workday, 51 per cent of Canadians feel stressed compared to the 42 per cent global average.
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Workers’ exhaustion has been linked to increased time spent in meetings and responding to chats, and a higher volume of emails, according to the report.
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RBC’s move comes a day after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a province-wide stay-at-home order to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Other provinces have recently reverted to stricter public measures, too, as parts of the country grapple with a third wave of the pandemic.
Alberta announced Tuesday that it was reintroducing certain restrictions such as banning indoor dining, and last week, Quebec announced that three of its cities would enter a new 10-day lockdown phase that would close schools and non-essential businesses. B.C., meanwhile, began a circuit breaker last week that cancelled indoor exercise classes and closed restaurants, pubs and bars to indoor dining.
McKay said RBC recognizes the ongoing pressures of the pandemic “especially for those in regions that have reverted back into lockdown.”
“I encourage all of you to prioritize your personal time and continue to be mindful about work-life boundaries wherever possible.”
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