Autumn is here, and as we prepare for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, it is a good time to reflect on how we are coping as busy professionals.
In the last few years, the COVID pandemic has changed many things at work and at home. Estate planning professionals are busy with the ever-increasing aging population, and the demand is growing. The same impact is felt by professionals in health and community care, where there are not enough effective, integrated, and coordinated services to meet the needs of the elderly population.
People are feeling overwhelmed. And with the current economic headwinds and higher interest rates, some people struggle to make ends meet. There is also increased worry about climate change. With Canada’s “summer of forest fires,” many of us dealt with the new reality of checking the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) before doing outside activities. And moving into the fall and winter seasons, COVID variants are once again emerging as a bigger health risk. The government of British Columbia has announced that all healthcare facilities and offices will now return to mandatory masking, and hospitals in Ontario are starting to follow.
Burnout seems more prevalent in our turbulent professional world. Senior and experienced people in organizations and governments have retired. During COVID, their replacements did not necessarily receive the normal standard management and on-the-job training. And workload stress is increasing.
Is there truly a change in workforce trends? It appears so. PWC has released an interesting report entitled Hopes and Fears 2023 – Canadian Insights. Here is a snapshot of some of their key findings:
- Talent is restless:23% of Canadian employees say they’re very or extremely likely to change employers in the next 12 months, up from 16% last year. Even so, job satisfaction was up slightly, with 72% saying they’re very or moderately satisfied, compared to 69% last year.
- Financial and workload stresses rising: 42%of Canadian employees say that while their household can pay its bills, they have nothing left over for savings. Another 14% say their household struggles to pay its bills. Work pressures are also acute, with just 22% saying their workload was often or usually manageable in the last 12 months.
- Need for reskilling underestimated:At a time when technologies like AI will shift the capabilities needed to remain relevant in the workforce, only about a quarter (27%) of Canadian employees strongly or moderately agree that the skills required for their jobs will change significantly over the next five years.
- Awareness of AI impacts low:Many workers also appear to be underestimating the implications of AI for their roles, with Canadian employees (31%) more likely than global respondents (22%) to say it won’t impact their job at all. This is yet more evidence that Canadian workers have yet to acknowledge the level of disruption that’s underway.
Despite our troubling circumstances, work-related stress, and burnout – try to press the pause button this weekend. Spend some quality time with your family and friends. Go out and enjoy a farmer’s market or hike a nature trail.
And you may wish to start a new tradition this Thanksgiving. Go around the table and share something for which you are grateful. Practising gratitude helps us focus on more positive aspects of our lives and relationships rather than on expectations or burdens at work or at home. There is a growing body of social science evidence that gratitude contributes to better mental and physical health. 
So, this Thanksgiving weekend, let’s pause and consider what we are thankful for.
John F. Kennedy said it best,
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”