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A Health Canada study indicates that 60% of participants today feel that workload has exceeded acceptable limits. Canadians report working an average of 50 hours a week, up from the 35 to 40 hours they worked a few decades ago. For many, work is getting longer, harder and more stressful, and the boundary between work and personal life is becoming less and less distinct.

According to a study by the International Bureau of Labor, US and Japanese workers averaged 1825 hours of work in 2002. French and German workers averaged 1545 and 1444 hours, respectively. In Canada, the average was 1778 hours of work in 2002. According to the study, US workers are the most productive in absolute terms. However, on an hourly basis, Norwegian workers, with an average productivity of $38 for each hour of work, followed by the French ($35/hour), and the Belgians ($34/hour), are more productive. US workers are fourth, with average productivity of $32 per hour.

A number of factors are thought to explain work overload, including

  • Increasing high demands from consumers, investors and other groups which exacerbates the already-high pressures on productivity and profit.
  • New technology which has exponentially increased the rate of information transfer and helped to blur the distinction between work and non-work.
  • Increase in non-value added activities (such as attending to a large number of e­mails, voice mails and meetings) arising, in part, from a lack of defined organizational priorities and responsibilities with inadequate coordination.
  • Poor technology and lack of training have often been blamed for wasted hours and reduced productivity.

At the same time, fundamental changes are taking place in work-force attitudes, expectations and behaviors. Aging workers and dual career couples are looking for a better balance between the quality of life and work demands.

For most organizations human assets play an increasingly important role in value creation. People are the key factor in productivity and profitability, and in many cases, staffing is also the most significant cost item. The major challenge therefore-for organizations, management, and indeed for all workforce participants- is to develop a new work ethic and culture. A new set of arrangements is required, one that will facilitate and promote reaching a higher degree of harmony between workplace constraints and values and a new set of family and personal aspirations that need to be taken into account, all the while striving for higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

It was estimated that work life conflict cost Canadian Businesses approximately $15 billion a year due to absenteeism and stress related disorders.


  • Why are we overloaded with work?
  • Do our organizations make us work too hard?
  • What are the consequences of the intensification of work?
  • How do we achieve a balance between work and personal life?
  • ow do we build a healthy and productive workplace?
  • What are progressive organizations doing to achieve such a balance?
  • hat accounting and management control initiatives could be implemented to facilitate the transition to a fusion between work and personal life?


The economic Causes and Consequences of Work Intensity
Dr. David Gray, Professor, University of Ottawa

The consequences of Work Intensification for HR Behavior and Management
Dr. Joanne Leck, Professor, University of Ottawa

The Challenges of work intensification for accountancy and accountants
Ronald Francis, Professor, Seneca College

The Role of Emotional intelligence in Balancing Work and Lifestyle
Dr. Jennifer Newman, Partner, Newman & Grigg Psychological and Consulting Services.

Working Time and the Future of Work in Canada
Dr. Ronald Colman, Executive Director, GPI Atlantic.

Overloaded with work and still motivate!
Merge Gupta-Sunderji, Professional Speaker & Management Training Consultant

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