Working Women Doing More With Less

The pandemic has brought the buzzworthy bullseye of work-life balance to the forefront, as childcare and conference calls are now colliding on so many daily calendars. But despite having more irons in the fire, working women seem to be handling the deluge of duties better than their male counterparts, a recent Office Pulse survey found.

50% of women say their personal responsibilities have increased during the pandemic. When looking at daily tasks, more women than men have balanced working full-time (63%), caring for children (56%), caring for other family members (56%) and preparing meals (67%) in the last year.

This is echoed at the office, as 53% of women say their professional responsibilities have gone up.

Impressively, in the face of escalating obligations, a whopping 76% of women say they have not fallen behind at work because of these added responsibilities. The same can’t be said for men: 40% admitted they have found themselves lagging.

How would you best describe your work performance during the COVID-19 pandemic?


I feel totally burnt out and can’t keep up: 10%
I’m a bit behind but doing my best: 37%
I’m doing better than ever: 12%
I have noticed no change: 40%


I feel totally burnt out and can’t keep up: 14%
I’m a bit behind but doing my best: 45%
I’m doing better than ever: 12%
I have noticed no change: 29%

Making It Work

A good manager can make all the difference when time conflicts arise – something pushed to the forefront by the pandemic’s blurring of work-life boundaries. Women may have been met with more sympathy when it comes to juggling additional personal responsibilities – 73% say they strongly disagree with the statement “I have gotten heat from a manager about personal responsibilities interfering with my work during the COVID-19 pandemic,” compared with 55% of men.

It’s not all sunshine: Hints of a “she-cession” are starting to play out, as 22% of female white-collar professionals say they have left or considered leaving a job in the past year because of increased responsibilities due to the pandemic, compared to 16% of men.

For those still in the workforce, things seem to be looking up. Some 64% of women feel they are fairly compensated for the work they do, up from 55% in 2020. Most female professionals (77%) feel their ideas/perspectives are valued in the workplace.

Words of Wisdom

In tricky times, words of affirmation and advice from our peers act as a buoy. When asked what professional advice they’d give to women during this time, both male and female workers had some top tips.

What professional advice would you give to women during this time?

“Do what you can do and the rest will take care of itself. Or not. But you are only human.”

Female, Gen Xer

“Remember that you need to take care of yourself as well. [There is] never going to be enough time to do everything. “

Female, Gen Xer

“Communicate with your peers and boss more about the challenges you are facing at home.”

Male, Millennial

“Better time management, no fear in saying no, be open and honest about struggles.”

Female, Millennial

“Be your best advocate! Work-life balance is more important than ever.”

Female, Gen Xer

“There will be an increased focus on skills as people start re-entering the workforce, don’t be afraid to show off what you can do.”

Male, Gen Xer

Looking Forward

The road may be rocky for working women, but with strong managerial support, an open-minded work atmosphere, and increased flexibility overall, many are continuing to thrive. Though “the future of work” is a moving target, it’s clear female professionals are assembling an arsenal of ways to take it on, even once the pandemic is a thing of the past.

Other Insights:

  • 4 in 10 women said they could openly discuss the challenges they’re facing with their manager, 12% disagreed and 47% were neutral
  • More women (6%) than men (1%) have left a job because of increased personal responsibilities stemming from the pandemic
  • 40% of parents of children under 18 say they have fallen behind at work this past year, compared with 30% overall
  • 68% of parents of children under 18 say their personal responsibilities have increased during the pandemic, compared with 51% overall
  • Most parents of children under 18 (77%) said they had not considered downshifting from their career because of increased personal responsibilities

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