Women, Stress and The Workplace

Women are making greater strides than ever before, both at work and at home.

Not only are we making our way into leadership ranks across all industries, but we’re also bringing home the funds to support our families.

But these advancements come with a price. As women workers struggle with the weight of balancing work and family, we’re stressed out.

While stress affects both genders, our recent Randstad Engagement Study found that it has a greater impact on women workers, with 27 percent of women (compared to 22% of men) citing stress as a top reason to leave their current job. Read more about our Randstad Engagement Study findings on stress in the workplace!

Our findings coincide with a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, which found that one-third of employees experience chronic stress related to work – and women reported higher levels of work stress than men.

“We Do, Do, Do, and Overdo”
Rebecca Rosen, senior editor at The Atlantic, recently dove into the topic of women and stress and the struggle to achieve work-life balance. Guilt, Rosen noted, was an underlying reason why we push ourselves so hard to excel both at work and home:

“We’re working more hours—more extreme hours … Our standards for what it takes to be a good parent, particularly a good mother, are insanely high and out of proportion to all reality. We all feel like we’re not doing enough for our children, so in our guilt, we do, do, do, and overdo: more lessons, more teams, more sports, bigger birthday parties, more educational outings. And we all feed off each other—particularly as we look to the future, see a changing global economy and so much uncertainty about what “success” will look like.”

Stress Take Its Toll
The heavy weight of stress is taking a physical toll, the Wall Street Journal notes, and it can negatively impact all the things that help productivity, including mental clarity, short-term memory, decision-making and moods. What’s more, the article added, women tend to internalize, which contributes to their stress because they hesitate to speak up for themselves or challenge behaviors they see as unfair.”

Take Control of Stress
The key to managing stress in today’s fast-paced workplace is taking a disciplined approach to finding balance and maintaining your own well-being. Forbes writer Judy Martin offers these five daily rituals on conquering stress in the workplace:

  • Get Inspired: Get up early and spend a few moments with yourself. Set one goal for the day, whether it be staying focused, connecting more with colleagues or having a better attitude.
  • Assess Your Workday: When you get to the office, hold off on incoming emails or phone calls and address your to-do list first.  Assess and prioritize.
  • Step Away From Your Desk:  Try to have a moment during your day when you step away from technology. Go for a walk and get your blood flowing – even breathing exercises can energize you.
  • Beat the mid-day slump: The middle of the day can turn into a stressful time as you work to get tasks accomplished before you leave.  Switch things up, take your mind off work for a minute or two, and re-focus.
  • Re-Assess: Before you leave work, look over what you completed to get a handle on your progress. If you didn’t accomplish all of your daily goals, there’s always tomorrow.

More helpful advice? De-stress by de-cluttering. Eliminating clutter, at the office, at home, in your car, or even in your handbag, is one of the easiest ways to decrease stress in your life.  Start by throwing away the stack of outdated magazines you keep thinking you’re going to read, according to Martha Lanier, who contributed to the book 303 Solutions for Dropping Stress Finding Balance.

Be Aware and Find a Supportive Network
Rosen, of The Atlantic, notes that cultural pressures can play a big part in our efforts to maintain such a harried, stressful pace. It’s important to find the right support network, she said, and to recognize our tendencies to overachieve. “We sometimes create busyness in order to conform to this social ideal, that to be worthy is to be busy,” she wrote. “I don’t say this to blame people. I do it, too. But the only way to change it, if we don’t like it, is to first be aware of it, be aware of that urge to conform, to be worthy, to be enough, which sometimes drives us unconsciously.”

When all else fails, laugh. Laughter is nature’s best stress reliever!

Michelle Prince is Senior Vice President Talent Management for Randstad North America. She provides strategic HR leadership in the areas of talent management, employee engagement, organization effectiveness, and leadership development. Michelle has a passion for supporting the professional development of women. She is an active mentor for Pathbuilders, Inc., an Advisory Committee Member for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Atlanta Chapter, and was a founding member of a corporate women’s networking group. Michelle brings global experience and best practices from a variety of industries including Technology, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices. Michelle earned a BS from Binghamton University, an MS from Rochester Institute of Technology, and is currently a doctoral candidate with the University of Phoenix.

Source: http://www.womenpoweringbusiness.com/women-stress-and-the-workplace/

Women Entrepreneurs Learn The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Women Entrepreneurs Learn The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


Starting a business is not for ‘the faint of heart’ as the expression goes. The expression generally refers to women who are too excitable and may not be able to handle the unpleasantness of challenge. Of course, women, like men, desire a challenge and risk, and seek out entrepreneurship because they believe they have an idea/product/or service that will change the world. They don’t see fear as the obstacle, but a challenge to ‘go where no man has gone before.’ The belief one has to have an impact on the world is powerful, but every entrepreneur eventually learns that every business has moments of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I’ve learned this through my own experience as well as by working with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years. No matter how good business is something happens that creates havoc even for the most seasoned entrepreneurs.

Here are some examples.

I was working with two women partners who had a growing business with revenues of more than $21M. The partnership was going well and the business was thriving. Then one woman got breast cancer. It was unexpected, of course, and the other partner was happy to take over all the roles the partner with breast cancer was responsible for while she was taking time off to fight and heal from her disease. A year and a few months later, just as she was ready to come back to work, her husband died. Clearly, more time was needed to deal with the untimeliness with his death and the affect it had on her family who had just weathered the storm of her illness. However, the partner in this company realized she would need to solider on alone for another three months or more. Of course, the revenue split was not changed during this time even though one partner was shouldering all the responsibility.

To an outsider, this partnership arrangement clearly seems unfair. However, the partners involved when incorporating the company, believed that an equal split was fair. Neither partner would have guessed that life’s challenges would end up burdening one partner more than the other. This is an example of how personal challenges can inspire the bad and the ugly for an otherwise good business.

Another example is a woman business owner client operating a type of printing company. Her business was steadily growing during her first three years of business. She was able to hire top talent away from her competitors and eventually even a sales manager to take over corporate sales. For five years the business was good and growing. As often happens to businesses that are doing well, a large corporate client came knocking on the door and wanted to utilize her services as she was certified as a WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise). The RFP (Request For Proposal) was worked on, delivered and accepted by the corporate giant. My client needed to ramp up quickly by doubling the number of her employees and bringing on new vendors to meet the challenge of the new business. Her revenues more than tripled over the next few years and the business was seen as a major player in its industry. Business was good and beautiful until the contract ran out the second time around and the third RFP for the business was suddenly rejected. The business was given to a smaller MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) competitor. The bad and the ugly set in fast. Dozens of employees needed to be laid off and vendors who were now offering better prices for all of her business were unwilling to offer the same deals for more than 2/3 less of her business.

The fact is the good in any business can quickly change to bad and the result is ugly.

However, as Winston Churchill is quoted to have said, “If you’re going through hell keep going”.

I’m sure your question is, “but Vicki, how do I keep going when things really get bad?”

My advice is something I learned from being in my own business. I started keeping a journal the moment I decided to start a business. I wrote daily, ONLY ABOUT THE BUSINESS, about everything that happened – the good, the bad and the ugly. At the beginning, most everything I wrote was good. But as the business grew more and more decisions had to be made and more employees, customers, and vendors created greater complications. Problems and headaches began to crop up daily and I wrote every one of them in my journal. Weeks turned into months, months turned into years and my journal continued to grow with stories of my business. Now and then, when I would find myself dealing with something in my business that was really bad and ugly, I would look back in my journal and read how I had overcome similar issues in the past. Time and time again I realized I had been in hell and worked my way through it.

If I can do it so can you.

Start writing daily in a journal NOW. It will remind you that you have what it takes to be successful even when your head doubts it. You’ll also learn NOT to make the same mistake more than once and be better prepared for what in your journal is the obvious.

Women entrepreneurs, like all entrepreneurs, will always have to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly in business. But, knowing that things can always get better and that change is possible and even predictable will get you through.

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Source: http://www.vickidonlan.com/Womens-Business-Blog/bid/104648/Women-Entrepreneurs-Learn-The-Good-The-Bad-and-The-Ugly

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