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New York - If you think a weekend away from the office is a chance to unwind, think again. Many of us are more stressed at home than at work because of the rising demands on our personal lives - with women suffering most.
A study suggests that being in the office can seem like bliss as we feel appreciated by our colleagues and bosses. In contrast, when we’re at home other members of the household often take us for granted, even when we carry out our domestic duties well.
The study found that men reported feeling happier overall at home, but women said by a significant margin that they were most comfortable behind their desks. This is because women are still doing a bigger share of the housework than men despite advances in equality, the researchers said.
They tested 122 men and women by measuring their levels of the hormone cortisol, which is a biological marker of stress, over three days. They were also asked to note their stress levels at various parts of the day.
Despite men saying they felt happier at home, for most of the volunteers cortisol levels were actually lower at work. Sarah Damaske, professor of labour and employment at Pennsylvania State University, said: “This is across gender, across education level, across occupation level – so, a pretty strong finding.”
She said one explanation could be because the daily routine with a family is exhausting – with mornings of getting the children up for school, making sure they have had breakfast and getting their lunch together, followed by evenings juggling cooking dinner with making sure they do their homework.
Professor Damaske added that “even though men are doing more [housework] than they did 30 years ago, it’s still not an even distribution”.
Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist with the University of California, Berkeley, said it was easier to feel valued in the office.
She said: “If I’m doing the right thing at work, chances are my supervisor’s clapping me on the back. But if I’m doing the right thing at home, with my teenager who wants the car and is mad at me, I’m doing the right thing but I’m not appreciated.” - Daily Mail