Work Related Stress and Business Women in the UK
by Jo Shaer, on August 10, 2012
According to this infographic from Workplace Claim via Good Relaxation, in 2010/11 10.8 million working days in the UK were lost to work related stress - an adverse physical or emotional reaction to excessive pressure caused by their occupation. Click on the picture to see a larger version of the image.
Who suffers most from work-related stress?
And curiously women are more prone than their male counterparts, particularly those in the 35-54 age group, which includes yours truly.
Having said that, I work on my own, whereas the women most affected tend to work for organisations with more than 250 employees. And I'm in the South-East rather than the South West, where 1760 per 100,000 workers are affected.
The most stressful jobs in the UK are in teaching - not really surprising. As a parent helper at a local primary school I heard a couple of children telling a reception class teacher to go away in rather more Anglo Saxon terms. When you hear a four year old say that word for the first time, it can be something of a shock. And, sadly, rather symptomatic of what happens as children turn into teenagers. But, don't get me started.
Healthcare workers, nurses and social workers are also under extreme pressure from the media spotlight if they make a mistake.
Bankers and city traders - well they work in a frenetic environment and the eyes of the world have been on them for less scrupulous business decisions in the last few years.
Head chefs? Having seen Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, I would have thought their staff would be more stressed but I guess it must be pressure that causes them to behave in that very shouty way.
What causes occupational stress?
So what is it that triggers the most work related stress? Well, for women the top scorers are workload and change in job, whilst for men it's work relationships and workload.
Thinking back through my own cv, I found that I enjoyed my time in male dominated workforces far more than those where there was a female bias. Whilst men jockey for positions of power, women tend to be unkind in a way very reminiscent of the playground.
What I like most about working for myself is that I can choose who I want to work with and, as a result, I can decline to quote for anyone that I think might be a less than optimal client. The famous 80/20 rule states that 80% of your income will be produced by 20% of your clients and that the other 80% will produce the majority of your headaches. So you need to be comfortable that you can work with those people.
Whilst I do struggle sometimes with the number of hours that I spend at my desk, I also know that the answer does lie in my own hands because, whilst the demands of the job can be large, I do have a say in the way that I carry out that work. The extent and understanding of my role and responsibilities is again defined by my own experience.
More often than not, it is not the work itself which causes the stress but the failure of technology, the demands of officialdom and the unrealistic expectations of clients. So it is important to be sure that the latter is addressed right from the start, leaving you with more time to deal with the unexpected and uncontrollable software and hardware issues.
How you can deal with a stressful job
And then to have escape valves to vent the pressures. Regular massages with Mike at The Ark loosen off the tense piano wires that run from my neck down to my shoulders, yoga classes at Shambhala Studios help me to achieve a calm equilibrium, Cranio Sacral Therapy at Therapy Life Centre - intense therapies that help me to deal with specific issues and acupuncture treatments from Essex Acupuncture so my body can keep itself in tip top condition so that stress cannot affect me so intensely.
But also online chats with friends across the world who are involved with Local SEO and Social Media. There is nothing quite like a companionable chat with others who experience the same issues.