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Live Mic: Dads faring better than moms while working from home

FILE: Employees walk past a lighted Twitter logo as they leave the company's headquarters in San Francisco on August 13, 2019. (Photo by GLENN CHAPMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Working from home during the pandemic? If you’re a dad with kids around the house, you are likely a compartmentalizer. If you’re a mom working from home with children, you are probably a multitasker.

A new survey by theBoardlist and Qualtrics found that a whopping 77% of men with children at home reported they were more productive while working at home, compared to just 46% of women with children at home.

Working from home: A study in contrast

In addition, the survey found these alarming results:

How would you rate your productivity since working at home during the pandemic?

Women with children at home: Only 18% said they were significantly more productive.

Men with kids at home: 52% said said they were significantly more productive.

Positive results of working from home:

Women with children at home: Only 9% said they had been promoted.

Men with kids at home: 34% said they had been promoted.

The findings are based on a July survey of 1,000 salaried employees who are working or recently furloughed in the United States.

Utah expert on family and career

Susan Madsen, director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project at Utah State University, has studied the impacts of working from home on family and career for men and women. She joins Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to explain further.

“Men in their work life, they really compartmentalize. That’s what they do. They keep family and home or non-work life separate,” Madsen said.

“I am a compartmentalized person,” Lee said. 

“Men do that. Men have the luxury most  time — not every man — but most men do that,” Madsen said. “Women tend to — what we call — integrate. . . So we are used to doing multitasking. Integration, that’s the method that we use.”

During the pandemic, support systems for women like child care and housekeeping have shut down.

In Utah, she pointed out, there is a wide gap in unpaid care work between men and women. Because of history and expectations, women continue to do more of the unpaid care work.

“They do more of the child care and that’s when you get the distractions,” Madsen said. “Women are really struggling with the child care and the housework.”

According to the survey from theBoardlist and Qualtrics, dads were significantly more likely than moms to say they were more productive because they had fewer distractions while working at home. By contrast, working moms were more likely to say they were less productive because of all of the distractions at home.

Sometimes moms do things but don’t ask for help, Madsen said, and sometimes they ask for help but don’t get it.

She suggested that mom and dad take a day to jot down their responsibilities and really take a look at how the workload can be divided between the parents, especially if they are both working full time.

“Sometimes we need to ask more. We’re just used to as women doing so much of the unpaid care work,” Madsen said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.