Canadians are embracing an updated view of work-life balance, expanding it from the traditional prioritization-based work-life model to one that integrates personal health and wellness. Millennials often get credited with this holistic life point of view, but they are not the only ones embracing this approach. Healthy aging is the fastest growing sector of health industries, and baby boomers actively seek good health, active retirement, longevity, and independence. 

A model for modern living

The traditional work-life model originated in the 1970s and 1980s as employers focused on providing support to professional women entering the workforce. The primary focus was dependent care; however, it also resulted in the creation of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to support those households where both parents or single parents were working.

According to Statistics Canada, while the trend of dual income or single-parent families grew over the decades, Canadians also started working longer, young adults stayed home longer, and many adults assumed the role of caregivers for aging parents.

These changes are leading to a new model of balance that improves our ability to work longer, care for our family and friends, and take care of ourselves. This model is the foundation of healthy-worker.ca, a free website that provides curated resources and support in each of these areas.

Turning trends into tips

The site was created by the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA), a Toronto-based not-for-profit that uses research gathered from a survey of Canadians designed to highlight current challenges in balancing work, family, and personal needs.

It also utilizes relevant Canadian data such as the 2016 General Social Survey, which found that while 78 percent of Canadians generally feel positive about their ability to balance work, life, family, and leisure activities, one in five experience difficulties doing so. In fact, although most participants in the PSHSA survey felt responsible for self-care, less than 50 percent of participants were satisfied with the current state of their health and well-being, and identified stress and fatigue, retirement planning, weight loss, and overall health as top concerns.

The site uses a variety of sources to build content that relates directly to those looking for information on managing the busiest parts of their lives — especially Canadians aged 45 and older, many of whom are balancing caregiving responsibilities with longer careers.

Much of the research was focused on statistics gathered from a variety of resources to paint an accurate portrait of the modern worker. Among them:

  • 40 percent of participants in the PSHSA survey stated that they do, or sometimes do provide care to an older adult or another person
  • 28 percent of caregivers are also raising children
  • 20 percent of Canadian seniors surveyed worked full-time or part-time in 2016

Additionally, 60 percent of survey participants said they looked for information online in addition to speaking to a health professional to take action in addressing specific health and wellness concerns.

If you’re unsure about how to improve your work-life-personal balance and are actively seeking a holistic solution, check out healthy-worker.ca for tips and advice.