Working from home is better for husbands than wives, as per the findings of two new studies.
When working from home, couples accomplish more household chores; yet, when the ladies go to the workplace, the husbands accomplish fewer tasks. Meanwhile, the wives were consistent in how much housework they did – whether their husbands were in or not.
On top of that, the studies by Ohio State University both revealed when wives went into the office they felt increasing guilt about failing to accomplish housework and spend time with their families.
Wives actually completed significantly more work when they were at home and their husbands had flexible schedules. When people worked from home they did more housework but that increased their feelings of conflict between home and work life.
Mentally they withdrew from work and felt increasingly guilty about it. When the women had inflexible work arrangements, the men working from home would step up and complete more family tasks.
Jasmine Hu, the lead author of the study and professor of management at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, said husbands with flexible work schedules could support their wives more.
She doubts things will go back to how they were before the pandemic, and said: “We found that men and women don’t have the same experience working from home.
“There are still some gendered differences in how they manage their job and family responsibilities.
“These findings suggest that husbands could help remote-working wives when they have more flexible work schedules and do more family tasks when their wives have more rigid work schedules.
“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.
“COVID-19 forever changed how we work. Remote working is going to become much more of a norm.
“People have really gotten used to the benefit of working from home and many won’t want to go back to the office full time.”
Researchers conducted two studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. One involved 172 married dual-earner couples in mainland China with at least one child and was done near the beginning of the pandemic in April and May 2020. The second looked at 60 dual-earner couples in South Korea later in the pandemic, from June to August 2021. Some had children and some did not.
Participants were required to complete two surveys every day for 14 consecutive work days, with each husband and wife reporting whether they worked from home and how much work and family tasks they completed.
Work-family conflict and family-work conflicts were also documented, along with how much guilt they felt towards family and work, and whether they had psychologically withdrawn from either.
Writing in the journal Personnel Psychology Professor Hu said hybrid work is the best possible future for working couples, and added: “This will allow employees to have the flexibility they get from working at home, while also having the opportunity to interact more with colleagues at the office, which can increase collaboration and inspire creativity and innovation.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker.