06/09/2004

Study links gender issues to employee stress, health risks and rising costs

A new study reveals that differences in the way men and women are managed -
fueled by the differences in what they value most at work - put both genders at
risk for cardiovascular problems, depression and a higher susceptibility to
infectious diseases.

"All companies are looking for solutions to reduce health care costs," said
Elizabeth Browning, CEO of Lluminari, the health education firm that
commissioned the study. "The answer isn't just about gyms and healthier choices
in the cafeterias. The study shows that a complete solution must include
addressing corporate workplace culture and its link to a healthy workforce."


According to the study, the three workplace values most important to men are
pay and benefits, achievement and success, and status and authority. While
these values are also important to women, other values ranked higher for them,
including friends at work and relationships, recognition and respect, and
communication and collaboration.

"The health of the organization depends on the health of the individual,"
Browning said. "Since women now represent half the workforce, we need to
understand how corporate cultures that have evolved largely based on male
models can become healthy for both genders."

Results from the study show that corporate culture—the values, beliefs, and
attitudes that drive the behaviors, systems and structures of the
organization—have a major impact on organizational health and the quality of
work life for employees. Workers feel stressed when their values are not
addressed by the culture of the organization.

"The study reveals that 62 percent of respondents don't think employers try to
minimize stress and half felt their employer didn't care about their well
being," Dr. Petersen said. "In addition, the study indicated that women
reported nearly 40 percent more health problems than their male counterparts
and noticeably higher stress."

Additional Study Results

  • 20 percent of respondents said that work regularly interfered with
    responsibilities at home and kept them from spending time with their families.
  • 54 percent of respondents said they "often to always" come home from work
    in a state of fatigue and almost 50 percent come into work already in a state
    of fatigue.
  • 40 percent of respondents said they experienced distress due to too much
    pressure or mental fatigue at work.
  • Almost 50 percent of respondents do not take their allotted vacation
    time.

The top five work related causes of stress and ill health identified by
respondents in the study were:


  1. mentally tiring work;
  2. time pressure;
  3. too many changes within the job;
  4. not getting enough feedback;
  5. not having enough influence on their job and how it is done.

Conclusions

  • Men and women value similar things at work but in a very different
    order of priority.
  • Women understand what men value much better than men understand what women
    value.
  • Workplaces may not be equally healthy for men and women.
  • Employees do not believe that corporate leaders understand the relationship
    between their own health and an organization's health.
  • Corporations can better assess the impact of work and work culture on
    employee health outcomes or a culture's influence on health care costs by
    examining gender differences.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Stevenspublishing