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Has working from home made women take on more unpaid domestic work?

In 2023 the typical working day looks very different from what it used to. 

After years of lockdown and working from home, some of us have been able to stick to more flexible working arrangements, heading into the office either a few days a week or none at all. 

But for women who continue to work from home, especially when their partners are in the office, another form of work can often creep in. It's the invisible, underappreciated type of work: cooking, cleaning and household admin. All of that fun stuff.

It's concerning when you consider the 2021 census found 15.9 per cent of women spent 15 to 29 hours on unpaid domestic work each week, compared to 8.1 per cent of men. 

The disparity is even worse for those who spend over 30 hours on unpaid domestic work – 13.1 per cent of women and just 3.9 per cent of men. 

With many of us continuing to work outside the office, even if part-time, we asked nine women whether working from home has impacted the division of labour in their house.  

Here's what they had to say.

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For most women, working from home saw women take on more household work, leading some to set boundaries or even, return to the office. 

"I definitely feel like the physical load of household things has fallen to me as I've been able to work from home. My partner can't work from home as a frontline shift worker, so our household organisation stuff around our dogs, errands (car admin and the post office) and other things like washing are naturally falling to me, due to the fact that I'm more 'around' to do it. We don't have kids in the mix, but I definitely feel it as a child-free person trying to be a corporate girly AND carry a higher load at home." - Michelle. 

"My partner works from home way more than I do. He never does anything extra while working from home, so I have now tried to make sure I am the same." - Sherry. 

"I have worked from home for a year now and while my husband and I are very good at dividing chores and both play a pretty equal role, the guilt I feel for being home more but the house being messy and untidier than I would like, is shocking. It is all internal, but I do feel like my house should be immaculate because I am almost always at home. It’s a tricky thing to navigate on particularly hard days or weeks." - Kirsty-leigh.

"I've found myself tidying up the house before work and doing washing before and after. Personally, I don't mind! It saves us having an argument about the house being messy or there being tonnes to wash. It doesn't take long so I actually prefer having those few moments to get that done thanks to working from home." - Charlie. 


"Yes [I've been doing more household work] so I stopped working from home and went back into the office. My standard response now is, sorry I’m at work." - Gabrielle.

"In our house the chores are pretty evenly split but as I am working from home more, I do more of the washing and general tidying. My husband who works in health has shorter days (we are lucky) so he does more of the grocery pick ups and kid pickups... Being able to chuck a load of washing on quickly during my day keeps our household ticking over and means weekends are less manic." - Laura. 

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Others have found ways to split the household labour when one or both partners are at home.  

"My husband and I both work from home for two days a week (the rest in the office). Our home days are different. We both contribute to home tasks on our working from home days. We both have busy jobs but usually manage to just tidy the kitchen, unpack the dishwasher, and do a load of washing. It doesn't take long out of our day (total 15 minutes maybe) but it makes an impact to the running of the house. And we do this equally." - Jessica.


"I feel like because I worked nights, things fell on me because I was at home in the day. Hoovering, cleaning, meal prepping, laundry etc all became 'day time jobs' because we didn't want to be a pain to neighbours by my partner hoovering away at night. I didn't really take stock that more and more household things were slipping onto my plate until we did the census... it was a real penny drop moment for both of us. Now we split things up and leave each other to-dos when we're not at work and it feels much less accidental 1950s housewife." - Katie.

In some cases, working from home has also encouraged some partners to pull more of their weight around the house. 

"We were forced to work from home for so long and not be in the office it has made my husband realise he can still get work done without being on site so much. He’s much more involved in the running around after school, doctors appointments etc. I’m still definitely the main organiser of the daily things but I’ve noticed a shift for the better".- Naomi.

Has working from home impacted the division of labour in your household? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Getty.

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