Occupational Stress Factors, Women & Productivity

Occupational Stress Factors, Women & Productivity August 5, 2016

Women entering the workplace will obviously continue to increase every year but what affect will that have on a company’s productivity cycle? Since 1908, researchers discovered that once stress reaches a mid to high level, productivity drops significantly. When productivity drops, the bottom line suffers. Will we add to or subtract from the bottom line?

In Health Advocate Report on job related stress, women make up over 50 percent of the labor force. Women are more likely to be physically impacted by the stress factors on the job than men. With it comes higher absenteeism and higher healthcare cost, not to mention the symptoms of ill health she suffers such as headaches, depression, binge eating causing weight gain, high blood pressure and fatigue. And of course these affects will also spill over into her home life as caretaker and perhaps the breadwinner. The cycle continues.

What are some of the stress factors commonly discussed in articles and studies on the subject of women, stress and productivity?

Longer hours, working more with less, technology that puts her on call 24/7, a manager’s inability to recognize stress, safety fears on the job, and unclear and constant changing guidelines are some of the contributors. According to American Psychological Association, the top stressors for people in the workplace in order of importance during the survey were: low salaries, heavy workloads, lack of opportunity for growth and advancement, unrealistic job expectations and job security.

According to a 2004 Lluminari Landmark study, people who worked under stressful conditions which included work- life conflicts or lack of social support, autonomy and control, were at least twice as likely to experience physical and metal effects than other workers. The effects were heart and cardiovascular problems, anxiety, depression, demoralization, substance abuse, certain cancers, infectious diseases, back pain and conflict injuries..

In one survey, researchers found that to cope with stress, 40 percent of people smoked, 41 per cent gambled, 35 percent shopped and 27 percent drank alcohol. These numbers have continued to rise since the survey in 2004. Some of the hallmark signs that workers experienced were mental distress causing poor concentration, short temper, job dissatisfaction and low morale. The National institute of Mental Health estimated that depression resulted in $23 billion a year in lost workdays.

Huffington Post reported one in four women in America were dispensed medication for mental health conditions. Anti-depressant use, especially was high among women; up 29 percent since 2001. The report shows anti-anxiety meds were used by women at least twice the rate seen among men.

When we connect the dots we can see that organizational change, stress management and a balance between work home life are necessary to maximize a woman’s potential to remain highly productive in the work place; and positively affect the bottom line in companies and government agencies.

The price tag related to presenteeism ( showing up on the job but not fully functioning) adds up to 150 billion dollars a year lost in productivity, according to International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans.

Due to the impact on the bottom line, management of stress is becoming an urgent business strategy for American companies and women in the workforce.

What Can We Do?

Organizational Change– The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) suggests companies evaluate the scope of stress in the workplace by looking at absenteeism, illness, turn over rates and performance problems.

NIOSH research also identified organizations characteristics associate with both health low-stress work and high levels of productivity. They are: Recognition of employees for good work performance. Opportunities for career development. An organization culture that values the individual worker. Management activities that are consistent with organizational values. Please add to this based on the services you can provide.

Stress Management – An effective evaluation tool can be the Health Risk Assessment, an online or print questionnaire provided to employees that help identify risks for depression and controlling lifestyle factors such as stress levels. It enables workers to learn about their individual risks and can be an effective monitor towards making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce those risks according to Mayo Clinic.

Wellness Program – A highly cost effective program. Can be custom designed for your unique company and budget. Could be cost shared with employees or company sponsored as overhead cost. Find out what helps your employees relieve stress and offer some of them on site.

As an incentive for your high performance employees, a trip to a healing retreat in the tropics is a great way to encourage, reward and restore bio energy centers in women.

See website for details: www.tropicalhealingretreats. com or call 540-491-4823. Ask for Trish and receive a customized proposal.

On the Job

Breathing Techniques – Taking deep breaths can not only calm the mind but also relieve tensions in the body and re energize the circuits.

Laughter– There is nothing better than to evoke laughter in yourself and others for an instant relief. A friendly empathetic and smile can help co-workers to lighten up.

Self Pep Talks– To over shadow worries, doubts and disappointments, the use of encouraging and positive words to and about yourself can neutralize stressful situations.

Mindfulness Training-This is a great techniques to quieten the mind and control the breath for relaxing the body.

Exercise– Moving the body to eliminate tension and bringing more oxygen into the cells can release endorphin in the body that brings on pleasurable feelings.

Massage Therapy– Hands on manipulation of the body muscles and tissues to increase blood flow and induce relaxation is widely used now and gives immediate relief of stress.

Music– Sound is an instant mood transformer. Think about what happens to your mood when entering a department store while music is in the air. I bet you do more shopping. Productivity affecting the bottom line at it’s best.

Hammock Therapy– Gentle cradle rocking in an out door hammock can stimulate the body and mind to recall being in the womb and Mother hugs.

Retreat to the Tropics– Sounds of ocean waves, sunshine and exquisite greenery plus organic food intakes can do wonders to relieve stress in the mind, body and spirit.

Written by Patricia Shelton, Owner, Coach, Tropical Healing Retreats,

A Private Retreat for Women, Couples and Mother-Daughters. We provide massage treatments, meals, lodging, tours, transportation and on site coaching for our guests. Retreats are designed to relieve stress and restore equilibrium to the body/mind.

www.tropicalhealingretreats. com.

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American Psychological Association
National Institute of Health
National Women’s Health Resource Center
Health Advocate Inc.
National Institute Of Safety and Health
International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans
Women’s Health Magazine
American Institute of Stress
The Journal of the American Medical Association
Web MD Medical Reference

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