How To Prioritise Women’s Wellbeing At Work

For Women’s Health Week, WorkScore is looking at the state of women’s wellbeing at work. We analysed data from close to 9,000 female employees who responded to our survey to understand the wellbeing needs of women in the workplace.

Women’s Health Week takes place 2-6 September 2019, and its focus is on making good health a priority for women in Australia. At WorkScore, our focus is on women's wellbeing and making it a priority at work. That’s why we’ve analysed the responses of close to 9,000 female workers who took our survey. Here’s what they’ve told us about the health and wellbeing of women in the workplace:

The challenges to women’s wellbeing at work

Putting others first:

Our findings reflect that 80% of women put the wellbeing of others ahead of theirs. Throw work into the mix and it makes it even harder for women to maintain the recommended amounts of sleep and exercise, not to mention a healthy diet – and our research shows that all this impacts their wellbeing.

Women – and their employers – must be careful that this doesn’t come at the cost of their health and wellness.

Feeling anxious, stressed & depressed:

More than half of women at work are experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety and depression! Of those surveyed, 70% told us they feel anxious most of the time, 65% experience a high level of general stress and 60% feel depressed.

Struggling with energy and sleep:

Two-thirds of women rate their sleep quality as low, and not surprisingly, nearly three-quarters of women surveyed said they have low energy levels. With the link between sleep, energy and productivity at work being a known fact, employers must support these factors to improve performance.

According to our findings, workers who rate their sleep quality as very good also experienced: • Better concentration levels (11% higher) • Less stress at work (17% lower) • Increased engagement at work (16% higher)

Work impacting  women's wellbeing:

A third of women are feeling that work is negatively impacting their wellbeing, and 80% of women find work regularly stressful. Just under half of the women surveyed reported having flexibility in their work hours and locations. And a similar number of women feel unrecognised for their efforts when at work.

Where women succeed

Maintaining a healthy diet:

Women are eating healthier than their male colleagues, and five per cent more females eat four serves of fruit or vegetables a day. However, only 15% of females are eating more than four serves of vegetables a day. With our research showing a link between a healthier diet, positivity and improved mental health, further support from workplaces on maintaining a healthy diet – particularly when it comes to eating more fruit and vegetables and reducing sugar intake – will reap the rewards. Women with a healthy diet are up to 24% better able to deal with problems and are 25% more positive.

Exercising to overcome stress:

Despite 23% of women reporting they don’t exercise at all, those who do exercise regularly are enjoying the benefits. Indeed, being fit is a great way to improve the mindset of working women. Those who rate themselves as fit also report 20% less anxiety, 20% less depression and 20% increased positivity.

The results are clear. It’s time for employees to prioritise the wellbeing of women at work.

Here are four ways to do it:

  1. Help women take regular breaks. Encourage women to take short breaks as this shifts the mindset towards self-care. Our research shows that women who take a full lunch break rate up to 10% higher levels of wellbeing and are 10% more likely to prioritise their wellbeing than those who never take lunch breaks. Plus, those who take regular short breaks are 16% less depressed and 15% less anxious than those who don’t.
  2. Encourage healthy eating habits. Continue to support your female workers who maintain good eating habits. When catering for work functions, always include healthy options. Swap out sugary drinks from your vending machines and offer healthy snacks in your breakroom.
  3. Promote opportunities to get active. Support more women in becoming active. Organise group fitness or exercise activities at work. Why not choose activities that are aimed at women?
  4. Offer flexible work arrangements. With a positive impact on female employee’s mindset, flexible work should be offered whenever possible. You can allow flexibility when it comes to working hours and location to help female employees feel less stressed.

If you would like to take the first step in supporting the wellbeing of your female employees, contact WorkScore now on 1300 972 673 or [email protected]


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