Say ‘No’ To More Office Housework

By Aisling O’Toole

Organising the whip around for a colleague’s birthday, planning the Christmas party and sharing notes with a colleague who missed the big meeting may seem like the signs of a conscientious worker, but these tasks amount to office housework.

And rather than appearing helpful, taking on too much can impact negatively on your career.

In fact, those who take on extra admin-focussed housekeeping tasks are less likely to be rewarded with a promotion as they’re spending their time on non-promotable tasks when they could be focussing on projects that will help them climb the ladder.

A recent study showed that on average, women do 29% more office housework than their male colleagues. Gender bias may be a contributing factor, but being aware of a problem’s root cause is also helpful to prevent the problem recurring.

So, if you’ve inadvertently become the go-to doer within your company, it could be time to take a look at your approach. Here’s how.

Look around you

Are you the go-to person for the company? Or can you identify who it is? This question becomes even more important if you’re a business owner and find that you constantly ask the same team member to pick up the slack. If you can, take note of what you discover and next time a seemingly menial task needs completing, ask somebody else to help.

Provide alternatives

Once you’ve decided that you will no longer say “yes” to everything, it’s important that you shortlist the tasks you currently do outside of your job description, and decide which ones can be delegated elsewhere.

For example, if you always tidy up the customer sampling area at the end of each shift, make a point of stating that you’re happy to do it today, if another colleague does it tomorrow. Instead of going from a constant yes to a hard no, this approach enables your colleagues and leaders time to process the change in your mentality.

Find other opportunities

If you’re always expected to pick up the slack, it could be because you have time on your hands or aren’t already working on projects that are a priority to the business. If you want to get promoted and stop doing the admin-focussed tasks, find other opportunities to keep you busy. Even better, identify opportunities that will put you on the fast track for promotion.

This approach is especially helpful if you shy away from confrontation as you are providing a valid and real excuse as to why you’re no longer in a position to perform that task.

Speak up

Unfortunately, despite all your best efforts, some extra tasks need to be done and done by you.

In this instance, acknowledge that you’re happy to help but point out that the task is extra work, taking time from your daily schedule and something that you hope will be picked up by somebody else next time.

Move On

People can be reluctant to adopt a new approach, which means that no matter how clear you are about the redistribution of office housework, tasks may still continue to fall your way.

If you’ve continually flagged this with your manager and nothing is changing, it could be time to move roles and if that is the case, the Professional Beauty job board is full of companies hiring for a variety of roles. Three companies with current vacancies are highlighted below, but be sure to browse the job board to find your own perfect fit.

The Body Shop

Since it was founded in the 1970s, The Body Shop continues to push forward with its message that business can be used for good. Employees receive continuous training, generous holiday and parental leave as well as health insurance and pension contributions. The Body Shop is currently recruiting for a number of stores across Australia. Browse all available roles with The Body Shop here.

Aesop Corporate

With bi-annual free products and staff discounts as well as continued training and opportunities for promotion, Aesop Corporate is on the wishlist for many within the beauty industry. This is in addition to health insurance, pension contributions and a generous parental leave policy. Aesop is currently hiring for a number of roles including business manager, assistant store manager and master data manager. Browse all available roles with Aesop here.


Sephora Australia is currently hiring for a number of positions including department manager, senior end to end planner and makeup artist. A recognisable brand with a global footprint, Sephora is known to provide staff with ongoing training and learning as well as real opportunities for progression. Other benefits include a pension contribution, staff discounts across dozens of additional brands and health insurance. Browse all available roles with Sephora here.

Explore the Professional Beauty job board to find your next career opportunity

This article was produced in partnership with Jobbio.

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