Women and Stress: How is our Productivity Affected?

Guest Post by Patricia Shelton, Owner and Coach, Tropical Healing Retreats


The number of women entering the workplace continues to increase every year.  With the competing demands that we typically carry, what effect will job-related stress factors for women have on our productivity? Since 1908, researchers have shown 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 a 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 costs to the company.  Additionally, she suffers the symptoms of ill health such as headaches, depression, binge eating causing weight gain, high blood pressure and fatigue. And, of course, these conditions also spill over into her home life as caretaker and perhaps the breadwinner. The cycle perpetuates itself.


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 constantly-changing guidelines are some of the contributors. According to the American Psychological Association, the top stressors for people in the workplace were: low salaries, heavy workloads, lack of opportunity for growth and advancement, unrealistic job expectations and job security.

The 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.

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?


Change the Culture of our Organizations – The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) recommends that organizations should evaluate the scope of stress in the workplace by looking at absenteeism, illness, turnover rates and performance problems. NIOSH research also identified the following company characteristics that are associated with low-stress work and high levels of productivity:

  • Recognition of employees and opportunities for career development.
  • An organizational culture that values the individual worker.
  • Management activities that are consistent with organizational values.


Measure Worker Stress Levels – 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.


Support Wellness in the Workplace – These highly cost-effective programs can be custom designed for your company and budget. Wellness offerings can be cost shared with employees or company sponsored as overhead cost. Find out what helps your employees relieve stress and offer programs on site.


Special Note:  As an incentive for your high-performing 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 my website for details: www.tropicalhealingretreats.com or call 540-491-4823. Ask for Trish and receive a customized proposal.


Natural Remedies for Managing Stress on the Job


Breathing Techniques – Taking deep breaths will calm the mind, relieve tensions in the body and re-energize the circuits.

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

Self Pep Talks – To overshadow 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 technique to quiet the mind and control the breath for relaxing your body.

Exercise – Moving your body to eliminate tension and bringing more oxygen into the cells can release endorphins 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 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.

Hammock Therapy – Gentle cradle rocking in an outdoor 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 can do wonders to relieve stress in the mind, body and spirit.


LOGO_TrishSheltonWritten 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.  Visit us online at www.tropicalhealingretreats.com.



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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at getproductive@melissagratias.com or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


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