back to Quick Bites

The lowdown: The second installment of Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s series on women at work in the New York Times tackles a phenomenon that many women will recognize: “office housework,” or the little admin tasks around the office that are helpful, but don’t really count as “work.” We’ve all heard the stats about how even when both a husband and wife work full-time outside the home, the wife will generally take on the lion’s share of the housework (dubbed “the second shift”); as it turns out, this happens in the workplace as well. When women and men offered identical forms of help in an office setting (ordering the birthday cake for a colleague’s birthday, mentoring younger coworkers, staying late for a last-minute client request), men were rated higher than women; when both declined, women were rated lower than men. In other words, “a woman had to help to get the same rating as a man who didn’t help.”

Looking forward: Like almost every finding regarding women and the workplace ever, these stats can be depressing. Sandberg and Grant offer the following advice: Women can take time for self-care, help in more efficient ways, and say “no” in a more communal fashion. (Read the article for specifics!) Men? Well, they can use their voices to call attention to the contributions of women at work. The idea is not to stop helping out, but to seek balance in the way we’re all valued for it. As the article puts it, “we can all benefit from encouraging both women and men to help, and rewarding them equally when they do.”

These articles represent a collaborative effort between CGH Team Members. read more about