Everyone in today’s supercharged workplaces experiences stress, and the ‘have it all’ generation of women is feeling the strain, with working women facing more stress than their male counterparts. The 2019 Cigna 360⁰ Well-Being Survey reveals workplace stress is on the rise in the UAE, with the burden tilting more towards women.
According to the survey, working women scored slightly lower on the overall health and well-being index than working men – 62.3 points compared to 63.2 points, citing lack of sleep and exercise as well as less time for socializing and personal time as the reasons. Seventy-eight percent of women also felt the need for more customized wellness programs in the workplace.
In addition to lower levels of well-being at work, a discriminatory pay gap leaves women across the globe lagging on the pay scale when compared with their male counterparts – another factor that contributes to workplace stress.
Overall, the top three stressors for working women are heavy workloads, personal health and financial concerns. Employers must take urgent steps to address them to create a healthier and more productive workplace. A few strategies include:
Many people may call the concept of work-life balance a myth, but when you have responsibilities at home in addition to those at work, learning to manage both may require setting boundaries and time limits. Workers, including women, should have a certain degree of control over their work schedule.
Introducing flexible working patterns, such as the option to start an hour late or work from home, enables employees to achieve a better work-life balance. They can save time on commuting, have the freedom to set their own routine, and can also find more time within their workday for their personal commitments.
Programs that provide tailored stress reduction solutions are invaluable to women, especially when they must juggle responsibilities at work and on the home front.
These programs may offer stress management training, lessons in mindfulness, and mental health awareness workshops by professionals. They can also include therapy sessions for employees who demonstrate physical manifestations of burnout.
Remuneration should reflect responsibilities and performance rather than gender. In addition, incentives for high-performing employees go a long way in boosting morale.
Companies should prioritize strategies that ensure an equitable and transparent pay structure and offer fair incentives and raises across the board.