WomanWorke As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, proponents on both sides of the issue are celebrating Fair Pay Day 2014 with vociferous rhetoric. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

Science says some people go to work to relax. If you think about it, this makes sense since, for many, work is typically a routine. Every day you take the same route to the office, sit at the same desk with the same pens and the same computer. Even the bad parts are usually stable. Now there is finally a study that confirms this scientifically.

Men and women have significantly lower stress levels at work than at home, according a recent study by researchers from Penn State  and posted to the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit organization based at the University of Miami. 

“At work, people are potentially completing tasks. They’re able to focus their attention and accomplish things, both those with low and high incomes. They’re not multitasking,” Sarah Damaske, a sociologist and women’s studies professor at Penn State and one of the report authors, told the Washington Post. “We tend to think that jobs are rewarding if they’re professional, but actually people with lower incomes have more stress reduction at work.”

Stress levels were measured in two ways: by monitoring cortisol levels and by asking each of the 122 subjects to rate their own moods. Cortisol levels, which rise in stressful situations, are measured by swabbing the patient’s cheek.

However, when it comes to rating their own stress levels, there was a gap between genders.“Women may get more renewal from work than men, because unlike men, they report themselves happier at work than at home,” according to the study. “It is men, not women, who report being happier at home than at work.”

Parents reported feeling less stressed at work than at home, which is not as surprising, as the study suggests. However, parents did have higher stress levels than non-parents.

Conclusions from the study suggest that cutting back on work to solve work-family conflicts is not the solution.Companies should consider adopting family-friendly policies that allow workers to continue getting the health benefits of employment while still being able to meet their family responsibilities.”