Are Women Less Happy in the Workplace?

A new survey says men were 25 percent happier at work and 8 percent happier at home than women.

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Lindsay Olson
Think as a woman you’ve got this work/life balance thing figured out? That’s not the case for most women. The Captivate Office Pulse Survey on Work-Life Balance shows some surprising statistics revealing that men are more likely to be happy at both work and at home than women.

Of the 673 workers surveyed, the men were 25 percent happier at work and 8 percent happier at home than women. Even though the men worked more time at the office, they were happier. Men work, on average, 8.8 hours a day, while women, just behind, work about 8.4.

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But here’s the caveat: This happiness factor (or lack thereof) is true for most women. For “Alpha moms,” it turns out they are happier professionally than their beta women counterparts! The study defines an Alpha mom as a working woman, aged 32 to 54, with children under 18 at home, and a household income more than $50,000. She’s ambitious, organized, resourceful, and has an entrepreneurial spirit. Overall, the Captivate Network study showed that men claim to have more work-life balance and to be happier workers in general, but of the women polled, it’s the Alpha Mom who is happier than other women. This is mainly attributed to Alpha Moms having more support at home and their priority to organize work and personal time.

The Gender War at Home Continues

Perhaps part of the happiness equation at home comes from the fact that women still do more housework than their spouses. They’re shopping for groceries, doing laundry, and cooking. The study shows that Alpha women, however, are less likely than other women to do these chores around the house. In fact, where 59 percent of the average women surveyed do laundry, only 43 percent of the Alphas get their whites whiter. What do they know that other women don’t?

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When It Affects Your Health

We all know there’s a link between stress and health. So it’s no surprise, given this information, that men tend to be healthier, since they’re happier. Women, on the other hand, feel more stress, get more headaches, more muscle tension, and gain more weight in response to stress than men.

So Why Can’t Women Relax?

Men seem to have the relaxing thing down pat. They’re 25 percent more likely than women to take a break during a workday to pursue personal activities, such as a long lunch, walking or exercise, or just a “relax” break.

No matter if you’re a man, woman or Alpha mom, strive for work and life balance in everything you do. Here is how:

•    Divide the chores at home

•    Take more vacations

•    Spend time relaxing: Read, watch TV, play with family, walk

•    When work day is done, unplug mentally and physically from work

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As for being an Alpha Mom, many of the psychological characteristics are probably something innate, but here are some things they do that other women don’t. Start trying to incorporate more of these activities into your schedule and maybe you’ll start to see better balance:

•    60 percent of Alpha moms make weekly to-do lists

•    91 percent prioritize their projects

•    45 percent take walks

•    50 percent shop online during the day

•    69 percent take a break to relax

•    48 percent go out to lunch

Rather than slogging away, trying to finish that final report for the day, instead try taking a walk around the office to clear your head and relax. Make sure to get out of your office, if not the building, on your lunch break. A quick change in a different environment can give you the energy you need to happily continue on with your day.

At home, stop thinking about work. It will be there tomorrow. Focus on your family (you know what they say about kids: they don’t stay little long) and take time for yourself. By overworking ourselves at home and on the job, we don’t do ourselves any favors.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.