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Strategies to Address Higher Stress Levels Among Women in the Workplace

Women are facing increasing pressure in today’s workplace. The pressing demands of family and career have contributed to growing pressures on working women. A recent British study showed that women in their 30s and 40s are 70 percent more likely to face work-related stress.

Understanding some of the reasons women are feeling more stress can lead to reworked leadership strategies to address those stressors. For those executives responsible for leadership development, training and human resources, it’s evident that what’s needed are new leadership strategies to address higher stress levels among women in the workplace. Women can have higher stress levels within the work place because of issues such as maternity leave, an issue that effects women and her work, trying to start a family whilst juggling that new promotion can be extremely stressful. Taking some time out for yourself by participating in activities such as yoga, walking the dog, taking a walk with friends and family can all help. Also, improving your work skills such as time management skills or minute taking skills, can help you manage tasks better and be more organised, which helps with both work and out of work priorities. It is possible to become a minute taking expert with this course and you will thrive as a boss woman.

Reasons for increased stress
There are a number of factors causing these increases in stress levels, including:

    • A ‘yes’ mindset – Women have been conditioned to need to say ‘yes’ when it comes to responsibilities at the office, obligations to aging parents, responsibilities at home, caring for children and maintaining friendships. This acculturation means there are often not enough hours in the day to meet all the needs, demands and expectations.
    • Inequality – The continuing gap in pay means many professional women continue to feel the need to outperform their male counterparts in order to remain competitive and to prove their worth in the workplace. More hours, more projects and higher perceived expectations create unrealistic pressures.
    • Stereotype threat – Certain stereotypes continue to pervade the workplace around the misperception that women are not as adept as men in certain rough-and-tumble aspects of business. The incorrect belief that women perform worse than men in tasks such as negotiation, competition, and presentation leads women, aware of this perceived bias, to underperform. Even a subconscious awareness can make women apprehensive about confirming the assumption.

Leadership development to combat stress
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, authors Andrea Kramer and Alton Harris, focus on several techniques women can use to combat these stressors. For firms that value success for their women employees, crafting training programs that raise awareness of these issues and teach these skills is paramount. Among the suggestions:

    • Use humor – Women feeling overly stressed about workplace pressures can turn to humor to cope, including finding 2-3 things every day in the workplace that are ridiculous or humorous, telling stories about everyday life to coworkers, or creating the habit of finding humor in the difficult events of the workday.
    • Avoidance – Turning to alcohol, smoking and caffeine may provide short-term relief but are detrimental to career and health in the long run.
    • Acceptance – When there are elements of a situation that cannot be changed, focus instead on the things that can be controlled and influenced.
    • Safe spaces – Workplace stress management systems need to acknowledge that gender gaps exist and provide an appropriate support network. Female employees should be given the opportunity to verbalize concerns about the workplace and brainstorm with employers about how to address these issues.
    • Help others – Providing opportunities to help others, either in the workplace or through volunteering, can help employees become more resilient and alleviate some stressors. However, women who are already feeling over-obligated should not feel compelling to take on another task if it will increase stress.

The issues facing women in the workplace are significant, real and in need of remedy. Employers that recognize these issues can help women alleviate stress and become more effective. It’s vital for employers to keep an eye out for employees, especially if they’re showing signs of substance abuse. This is one of the most common ways that a lot of people deal with workplace stress, however, this can be dangerous when substances are misused. Employers suspecting that a member of staff is struggling could ask them to visit a drug testing Newark center to check if they’ve been taking any substances. The sooner an addiction like this is suspected, the more chance of the individual returning to normal. As an employer, it’s advised to ensure that all staff are coping and are in good health.