Can Telecommuting Reduce Stress for Women?

reduce stress

Reducing stress is particularly important for women. Research shows women are consistently more stressed than men. Join us as we explore the positive impacts remote work can make in the lives of female professionals.

Can Telecommuting Reduce Stress for Women?

Stress is both a physical and emotional burden that can lead to long-term damage when unchecked. Although a healthy amount of stress is good for motivation, performance, and safety, too much can disrupt your body’s ability to function normally. Prolonged stress is connected to an increased danger of burn out, illness, and serious organ damage. This is particularly the case for women, who report much higher stress levels than their male colleagues.

Research compiled by the American Psychology Association (APA) found that one in four women are not working to manage their high-stress levels. The APA also found that chronic stress can lead to heart disease and kidney failure. Unmanaged stress often results in poor habits such as smoking, drinking, and insufficient nutrition. When the body is under stress, the mind and body have to work harder to regulate temperature, heart rate, and the body’s vital systems.

Why Are Stress Levels Higher in Women?

Although law and social expectations concerning women’s roles and rights in the workforce have evolved, many of the current norms still negatively impact women. Gender-based expectations for care-taking, relationships, motherhood, and leadership carry heavy implications for women at work.

Related: Gender Chore Gap and Telecommuting: Does Working Remotely Close It?

Within an office environment, it is common for women’s voices to be overshadowed by men, and positions of power often fall to male colleagues, who are viewed as more reliable solely based on the assumption they will not be a primary parent or need to take extended time off work.

Assuming all women will marry and become mothers, and that these family responsibilities will detract from their ability to contribute meaningful work to a company, is outdated. Such limiting perspectives give rise to the tendency to see flexibility as a necessity for women and not for all human beings, which hinderers movement towards more inclusive work environments across the board. What intensifies the impact of stress in the workplace is an employer unwilling to treat every worker as a whole person with responsibilities and needs outside the office.

Another important aspect affecting women in the workplace is the misguided belief that power and leadership only present in one way. Men and women often lead differently, however, this does not mean that one leadership style is better than the other. Studies show that women lead more democratically and use transformative leadership more often than men, mobilizing teams to achieve big goals. These qualities are extremely valuable if captured, but they present only a fraction of the potential benefits of women in leadership.

Many female entrepreneurs are thriving in the current economy, working to create their own space without the confines of the current U.S. work culture. The stress of business ownership is compounded by the narrow conceptualization of what a founder looks like, based on gender.

How to Reduce Stress

Reducing stress is vital to increasing well-being and avoiding the dangerous symptoms of chronic stress. To reduce stress for women, lifestyle changes are mandatory. When you evaluate your life, do you see one area that is constantly producing stress and anxiety?

If you feel distracted, dread the thought of going to work, or have become disinterested in your current position, consider whether you are experiencing prolonged stress and burnout. If you are losing sleep, missing out on family activities or constantly canceling plans with friends due to work, you may be headed into the throws of job-induced burnout. Stop the cycle before it begins to impact your health.

Some fields are known for being high-stress. CBS News places the following positions among the top nine most stress-inducing jobsIf you are in one of the following fields, consider how your particular position could accommodate telecommuting policy. Often, employers are willing to negotiate telecommuting options for employees.

Senior Executive

Being a member of a senior financial officer is a high-stress position requiring a comprehensive understanding of company processes and needs. The job involves managing several departments, being responsible for outcomes and working to advance the company goals. SFO’s often work long hours and are expected to provide counsel and oversight on company accounts, sales, and acquisitions.

Although virtual job trends point to managers as the least likely to work from home, as a senior executive you have some control over business policies. You may be able to negotiate one or two days of out of the office work to help scale down your stress levels.

Event Coordinator

This high demand field is extremely high stakes because clients expect you to make sure their event runs smoothly. Being in charge of arranging multiple vendors, dealing with last minute emergencies and managing client expectations requires nerves of steel.

Many event coordinators choose to freelance to reduce the stress of working under the specifications of an agency. Making the move to contractor means you can set your own rates, build your own client base and work from a home office you can control.

Broadcaster

Broadcasting is also listed as a high-stress position as priorities shift rapidly and broadcasters who cover current events must be prepared to take in and relay time-sensitive information at a moments notice.

With the advent of more platforms for audio, many broadcasting professionals are finding opportunities in podcasting. Digital broadcasting, which can focus on informative and entertaining topics, recorded and promoted on sites such as SoundCloud and NPR one. Successful broadcasters looking to reduce the stress of news reporting can consider a switch to podcasting which will allow much more freedom, at a slower pace.

More Time At Home, Less Stress

A switch in your working environment could significantly reduce stress and help you manage your job duties without overextending. Not only does working remotely reduce daily commute time, it can be an excellent option for women who are looking to work more independently, reduce in office conflict or be more readily available to meet other obligations. Virtual Vocations’ 2016 Year-End Report paints the picture of a life with less stress for employees that opt for remote work.

If you want to transition into a new field and seek low-stress options, these positions could be perfect for you.

Research Analyst

If you love gathering and cross-referencing information, a virtual research position as an analyst could be your ticket to a stress-free and satisfying career.  Research analysts commonly work for universities, medical research labs, and financial management firms. You can use skills in statistical analysis, qualitative research, or even literature as a research analyst.

One of the reasons this position is relatively low anxiety is the nature of gathering data. Meticulous attention is required when compiling, coding and analyzing data. Additionally, depending on the nature of the research, the analysis could require several months of work. Usually, when an analyst is hired, the company is looking for precision over efficiency. This means that you can often get as much time as you need to complete a project.

Medical Coder

Medical coders work with medical records to enter vital patient information in a way that makes it easier to understand for physicians, insurance companies, and clients. They work as liaisons between medical agencies to help everyone understand how services are billed and categorized. This is a job that can easily be done from home. Virtual Vocations frequently posts new jobs in this category. If you are looking to begin a new career as a remote medical coder, now is the time.

Professor

When a professor reaches tenure, this is an exciting and relieving point in her or his education career. Reaching this status means that the educator has completed enough publications and earned enough teaching experience to be considered a permanent part of an institution. With the rise in online education, opportunities for experienced professors looking to achieve tenure and reduce stress are multiplying.

Online professors are responsible for creating curriculum, assisting students, delivering lectures and grading assessments. To be successful, professors must be proficient in online teaching software and have the necessary equipment to design courses that are engaging and informative.

Compliance Specialist

Every organization needs a person or a team of people who stay informed on federal, state and local policies. Compliance specialists maintain internal and external policies to make sure that the organization is not in jeopardy of breaking any of these codes.

A compliance officer usually works with the executive team to resolve compliance issues, maintain records in the event of an audit and propose policy changes when needed. This position can be done remotely or partially remote and is a relatively low-intensity position because it primarily involves advising on strategies to reduce risk.

Related: 7 Low-Stress Telecommute Jobs

Equality and Balance

As we move forward as a society, looking towards a time when wage inequality, sexism, and gender bias are no longer pervasive, it is important to recognize that true progressiveness in the workplace will require much more than flexibility. Achieving gender equality will require a new approach to education, hiring practices, and social norms.

Women and girls are already taking up the task of creating spaces that encourage scientific interest, business skills, and leadership among women and children. However, this is not a task solely for half the population. Many men are also committed to this movement. For stress levels to begin to balance out between the genders, men will also need to be a part of the solution.

If you are ready for a shift in your career and are looking for a low-stress environment that prioritizes skill over gender, Virtual Vocations has thousands of job openings that could be a perfect match for you. Register at Virtual Vocations today and discover what’s possible.

Are you a woman who wants to reduce stress through telecommutingConnect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about your dream remote job. We’d love to hear from you! 

Photo Credit: 1.iStock.com/PeopleImages


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