The Ladders: How Women Can Say No To ‘Office Housework’

07 Jun 2022
Too often, women get volunteered to do the thankless tasks that no one else in the office wants to do.

Originally found at The Ladders

Too often, women get volunteered to do the thankless tasks that no one else in the office wants to do. Back in 2018, research from both the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California and Harvard Business Review defined these dead-end tasks as “office housework”; essentially as work “done by someone, but it isn’t going to make that person’s career.” Roll forward to August 2021, a pandemic, and the rise of work-from-home, and the AOM (Academy of Management), found that nothing had changed.

Surprising, right?

“Office housework” can range from actual housework, like making the coffee, to operational or administrative work, like organizing team off-sites and serving on low-ranking committees. Working remotely offers, therefore, only a tiny modicum of time-saved for the office houseworker to do her actual job.

Women are not doing these tasks out of the goodness of their hearts. The pressure to be a good team player is not just an internal pressure women face. Managers instill this pressure. One study found that a manager is 40% more likely to ask a woman to volunteer for tasks “with low promotability,” regardless of whether the manager is a man or a woman.

That’s right – regardless of whether the manager is a man or a woman.

Continue reading the original article at The Ladders.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

Read the Academy of Management Insights summary and accompanying video.

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