employeeesAs Christmas 2012 becomes a distant memory and companies begin implementing their strategy for 2013, Canada Life Group Insurance has found a significant disparity between the kinds of benefits offered by employers over the festive season and those that were most appreciated.

Not only were some benefits perceived as less valuable, but many employees actually found that the run-up to Christmas was particularly stressful – with tension being experienced both in the office (28%) and at home (60%) – so they felt they needed more support.

However, the benefits provided towards the end of 2012 did not always match up to those on employee’s wish lists. Only 14% received a Christmas bonus last year, although 57% stated this as the benefit they desired most. A shopping day was sought after by 40%, while 35% would have liked a Christmas present from their employer (just 12% received one).

Lack of support
A more serious discrepancy between the workplace benefits currently provided by employers and those most needed by employees can be found in terms of a lack of employer support.

Nearly a third (28%) said that the office became more stressful towards the end of the year, with 14% noting significantly longer working hours. Meanwhile, over half (60%) also found that they experienced more tension and stress at home during this time. Despite this, just 13% received added access to emotional or stress related support from their employer, compared to 24% who said they wished they could have received this.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance comments;
“Although many enjoyed extra benefits during the festive period, such as paid-for Christmas parties or more flexibility in taking time off, the fact remains that almost a quarter of employees were left feeling under-supported towards the end of 2012.

“The festive period can be stressful for many reasons, be it rushing to meet deadlines before the Christmas break or experiencing family at tension at home. This can be seriously detrimental to an employee’s productivity levels, so it is in an employer’s interest to ensure their workers receive as much support as possible.

“However, only 13% received added access to emotional or stress related support at the end of 2012. This proportion is far too low when taking into consideration the 24% who wished they could have had access to such support services. Employers should take the New Year as an opportunity to review their benefits packages and question whether they are doing enough to produce a working environment that cultivates security and productivity all year round.”

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