The Heat is On: Seven in 10 Canadian Employees Report Increased Work Stress

Many CFOs Unaware of Rising Worker Stress-Levels


7 in 10 Employees Report Increased Work Stress


How Stressed Are Employees?

According to CFOs:
23% Not stressed at all
21% Somewhat stressed
56% Not too stressed
According to workers:
9% Not stressed at all
13% Very stressed
45% Somewhat stressed
34% Not too stressed

According to workers, men and women feel similarly stressed, while 18-34 year olds are the most stressed:

57% of men
58% of women
60% of 18-34 year olds
57% of 35-54 year olds
55% of age 55+


Have employees’ work-related stress levels increased or decreased in the last five years?

According to CFOs:
0% Increased greatly
23% Increased somewhat
17% Decreased somewhat
1% Decreased greatly
48% No change
According to workers:
22% Increased greatly
48% Increased somewhat
11% Decreased somewhat
5% Decreased greatly
14% No change
Workers’ top workplace stressors:
Unrealistic expectations of managers/superiors: 17%
Heavy workload /looming deadlines: 41%
Coworker conflicts: 9%
Attaining work-life balance: 22%
Other: 10%


Exercise daily (e.g., yoga, walking, running)
Enjoy time with friends or a significant other after work
Engage in a hobby (e.g. gardening, reading)
Listen to music
Take vacation time to recharge


Canadian workers report feeling most stressed in:
#1 Saskatchewan
#2 Manitoba
#3 Ontario
#4 Quebec
#5 Alberta
#6 British Columbia

Source: Accountemps survey of more than 270 CFOs and 400 workers in Canada

© 2017 Accountemps. A Robert Half Company.

Toronto, ON. – Having trouble “keeping calm and carrying on” at work? You’re in the majority. More than half (58 per cent) of Canadian workers said they are stressed at work on a day-to-day basis, and 70 per cent reported work-related pressure has increased in the last five years, according to a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps. Executives should take note: Only 21 per cent of Canadian CFOs acknowledged their teams are stressed, and only 23 per cent recognized an increase in worker anxiety. Employees polled cited heavy workloads and looming deadlines (41 per cent), attaining work-life balance (22 per cent), and unrealistic expectations of managers (17 per cent) as top worries.

“As companies move quickly to keep pace with evolving business needs, employees are often left feeling overwhelmed by mounting workloads and looming deadlines,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “Organizations must ensure workers feel supported by providing adequate tools and resources to help prioritize projects, without compromising work-life balance.”

“Executives should be conscious of the signs of burnout, like increased overtime or missed deadlines, which can lead to waning morale, lower productivity and high turnover,” added Hunnam-Jones. “Have regular check-ins with staff to review deadlines, pinpoint stressors, and come up with ways to mitigate pressure while ensuring business goals are still met.” 

Additional points from the Accountemps survey:

  • Younger workers are feeling the pressure: Sixty per cent of professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 admitted to being stressed on the job, compared to 55 per cent of respondents ages 55 and older.
  • Men and women are equally stressed: Fifty-eight per cent of women and 57 per cent of men said they are stressed at work on a daily basis.
  • Workers reported feeling the most stressed in the following provinces: 1) Saskatchewan, 2) Manitoba, 3) Ontario, 4) Quebec, 5) Alberta and 6) British Columbia.
  • Professionals shared the following ways they combat stress at work: Exercise daily (e.g., yoga, walking, running), enjoy time with friends or a significant other after work, engage in a hobby (e.g., gardening, reading), listen to music and take vacation time to recharge.

Accountemps offers employees and managers the following tips for combating work-related stress:

Employee Tips

Manager Tips

Protect your time. Staying organized is critical to finishing tasks. Rather than trying to juggle two things at once, schedule periods throughout the day to focus on key assignments.

Help prioritize. Meet with team members individually to help prioritize workloads and set realistic expectations about project deadlines and desired outcomes. If there is too much work to go around, bring in temporary professionals to lighten the workload for full-time employees.

Speak up. If your to-do list is never-ending, it’s possible you have too much on your plate. Talk to your manager about your workload and ask for help.

Offer resources. Encourage your team to take advantage of stress-management webinars, wellness tips or programs, and yoga or meditation classes available to them. Set a good example by utilizing these offerings as well as employee breakrooms or lounges.

Take a break. Feeling overwhelmed during the day? Step away from your desk, go for a walk or grab a snack. If you can’t get outside, look away from the computer and focus on a non-work related activity for a few minutes.

Make it fun. The job may be serious, but laughter and camaraderie can lead to greater work satisfaction and happiness. Look for ways to lighten the mood through social activities, staff celebrations or office decorations.

About the Research

The surveys were developed by Accountemps and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada and more than 400 Canadian workers age 18 and older who work in an office environment.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]