Bonus: Women also get assigned more work. 🙄
Women perform slightly more work than men, a recent study suggests — and may even get assigned a larger share of it.
The productivity platform Hive’s State of the Workplace Report, using data from more than 3,000 women and men from workspaces that use Hive, sought to “tackle key gender issues and myths in the workplace” by looking at how employees communicate, behave and approach working relationships.
The report revealed that while women send about 20% more chat messages than their male counterparts, they complete 10% more work. (In contrast, research has shown that work interruptions can decrease productivity.)
Meanwhile, both men and women tend to assign more tasks to folks of the same gender — male workers assign 20% more tasks to men, and female workers assign 20% more tasks to women — and employees are even a bit more likely to complete tasks assigned by a person of the same gender. These tendencies, the report suggested, may do little to resolve the well-documented gender gap in professional advancement.
And even as women do 10% more work than men, they’re also assigned more of it: Nearly 55% of tasks get assigned to women, the data found, in contrast to the 45% assigned to men. People of both genders finish around 66% of the tasks they get assigned.
As for why women’s career prospects still lag despite their completing more work and receiving more assignments, the report suggested “the type of work women are asked to do” as a possible explanation. Women tend to volunteer for “non-promotable” tasks like so-called office “housework” and low-status, routine tasks at higher rates than men, prior research shows; they’re asked to do this glamour-free work more often and are more likely to agree when asked.
If you’re overwhelmed, at capacity or simply saddled with too many low-level tasks that aren’t the best use of your time, career coach Julie Cohen told Moneyish, the best approach is to have a conversation with the person assigning you that work. You might say something like, “Hey, boss, you asked me to do XYZ; I’m focusing on ABC — help me understand what is the best business priority here.”
“Always make it about the business, not about you,” Cohen said. “Be able to have direct conversations with your boss so you’re clear on how he or she perceives your time being best spent in accomplishing professional objectives.”
Hive also looked at how workers use so-called passive phrases like “I think” and “sorry” — which, as the report points out, women tend to be discouraged from using — and found no significant gender difference: While women are more likely to use exclamation points and emoji, and slightly more messages by men include “thanks,” men and women use the words “please,” “sorry” and “I think” at near-equal rates.
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