Do you feel as though you spend all your time at work? We’re talking about more than just working through lunches and taking some work home with you every night (which we also agree, is still working too much.) But are you going in six or seven days a week? And spending 10-12 hours a day there? If so, then you’re not alone. While we often talk about Canadian salaries on this blog, more often than not to talk about how they’re not getting any higher, studies now show that the average Canadian is working far longer hours, and that it makes a real difference in their home and personal lives.
A study by Right Management shows that 70 per cent of people in North America hadn’t taken all of their vacation time by the end of 2013. And what might be even worse, Expedia found that 52 per cent of people in British Columbia actually cancelled their vacations because they had to work instead.
A spokesperson for Right Management says that this is largely due to the recession in 2008, a time when employees saw their co-workers being laid off, and would do just about anything to keep it from happening to them.
“It became a habit in which fewer and fewer people take vacations,” says Margaret-Ann Cole. “Social media makes it really hard for those who do to turn off and cleanly go on vacation.”
“People are working longer,” she continues. “They may not be physically in the office, but they are taking work home. If you did a poll and asked people, they would answer ‘yes,’ they are working longer.”
Stats Can corroborates that story, saying that Canadian couples are now working a combined 64.8 hours a week, which is up nearly a full day from the 57.6 hours those same couples were working in 2008.
Linda Duxbury, a business professor at Carleton University, says that this trend can also be seen in the three main categories of Canadian workers: professionals and managers; lower-end workers in the service sector and often working several part-time jobs; and those who are unemployed due to outsourcing in the automation industry.
She says, “My data says one in five Canadians has more than one job. That tends to be people with lower pay who need every available hour to survive.”
She also says that it’s those workers in high-end jobs, or holding down several part-time jobs that find they’re working longer hours and more days. Those in the high-end job category also have one more bone of contention to deal with – employers that don’t just want them working longer, but also placing greater demands on them.
It’s this that starts to creep into a person’s social and family life. Because when parents are away, kids go to camp instead of going on family vacations, meals are bought and eaten in cars instead of cooked and enjoyed as a family, and kids stay at day care longer and longer into the evening hours.
What do you think? Do you find that you’re working longer days and more hours? And do you see any reprieve in sight coming? More importantly, do you feel comfortable speaking to your employer about it in hopes to get those hours back down, and stabilize your family and personal life once again?