As Canada slowly restarts and managers are tasked with bringing workers back to the office, a new report suggests those senior leaders, who have been worked to the bone during the pandemic​, could be on the brink of quitting.

One in four senior leaders are considering resigning, according to new research from LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada.

Eighty-two per cent of respondents to a new poll report finishing work feeling mentally or physically exhausted, 59 per cent said they are unable to relax, while 49 per cent said they are having difficulties sleeping.

“Senior leaders have gone through a period of feeling exponential pressure to deliver,” said Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing at LifeWorks, in a release.

“In the short term, this increased pressure could lead to behavioural change among senior leadership that trickles down and ultimately causes employee burnout at lower levels. In the longer term, we anticipate seeing a serious risk of turnover among senior leaders.”

Roughly 1,200 senior leaders across nine industries were polled for this survey in early April. For this study, a senior leader refers to someone two positions below the chief executive.

If the study’s warning comes to fruition, and senior staff do indeed seek new employment, it could not only disrupt companies in the midst of crucial transitions back to the office, but also exacerbate the labour crunch many industries are facing coming out of the pandemic.

“Senior leaders will set the tone for how organizations come back from the pandemic,” said Zabeen Hirji, executive advisor at Deloitte, in a release.

“To do this effectively, it is key that we protect their mental health and resiliency and provide ongoing support that fits the range of needs within each workplace.”