In a study that might not be shocking to any mother who has to balance a career, kids, and a relationship, it turns out that men fair better in terms of work-life balance, thanks to the increase in work from home jobs.
In a new study conducted by the University of Ohio, moms who work from home often take on more duties around the house on top of their workload when they have the option to work from home, whereas that isn’t the case when the man is working from home and the woman is not.
According to the research, which looked at dual-income couples in China and South Korea, both men and women who worked from home tended to take on more home tasks, including child care, than their partner when they worked from home.
In cases where the woman worked from home, they were often able to pick up extra tasks around the house and take some tasks off their husbands’ plates. Even though when the men who worked from home were able to also tackle some at-home duties, they did not necessarily lighten their wives’ workloads once they returned home from the office.
To put it simply, when women worked from home, their partners did not have as much to complete when they got back from work. This was not the case when men worked from home and the women were in the office.
“These findings suggest husbands can provide more resources and support for their wives to complete remote work tasks when they have flexibility in scheduling their work time and procedure,” Jasmine Hu, lead author of the study and professor of management at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, said in a press statement.
And if this is surprising to anyone, there are also previous studies that show the disparity between men and women’s at-home duties, whether or not one person was working from home or not. The majority of household work tends to fall on women no matter what, thanks to gendered expectations and the notion that a father doing something like the laundry or coordinating kids’ carpool schedules is going above and beyond as opposed to being an equal team running a household together.
Ultimately, Hu thinks that this study can be a good conversation starter for women who might feel like their husbands aren’t pitching in as much around the house, along with managers who are looking for ways to help families avoid burnout.
“Organizations and managers should give their male employees more flexibility when possible so they and their families can better adapt to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hu said.
“We believe that our findings can be generalized to post-crisis times,” Hu told Huffington Post. “For the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 crisis can dramatically change how employees work and how dual-earner couples fulfill work and family duties.”
For any moms who work from home and are feeling the burnout, you are not alone, and having a serious talk about splitting at-home duties might be in the cards.