October 9, 2020
Throughout your time being with a company, have more responsibilities been added to your typical workday that were not expected originally? Did you offer to help with something outside of your job, then have it become part of your daily duties? If so, you’re not alone. Companies often look for ways to save money, and sometimes that means piling work on people who are already on the roster. Wearing many hats at work happens often, but how does it impact the employees that carry the extra burden? In a new study, ZenBusiness – a company that helps people start, run, and grow their own business – asked more than 1,000 current employees about the various functions they serve, what they think is fair, and how workloads have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the survey’s findings, 83.7 percent of employees agreed it is sometimes necessary to take on responsibilities outside of their specific role at work. Respondents felt that it was fair to add these extra duties to associate-level employees (51 percent) and management (48.1 percent). Still, only 33.6 percent thought it was appropriate for entry-level workers to take on extra work.
Employees in their 20s were more likely to say it was unfair to expect employees to do tasks outside of their established role.
Nearly 43 percent of respondents revealed that they were sometimes asked to take on more work. Approximately 22 percent were often asked to pick up more responsibility, and just 4.9 percent were always expected to wear more hats than initially agreed upon. Only 9.1 percent of survey participants had never been asked to do more work than what was in their job description.
Of respondents who filled multiple roles within their company, they were expected to do an average of 2.3 duties outside of their specific job. Managers performed 2.7 roles, associates worked 2.2, and entry-level employees performed 1.8.
So how did people feel about the additional work added to their plate? More than half (56.4 percent) of people liked that they were trusted enough to do the extra work, but 21.8 percent of respondents disliked this change.
Approximately 56.4 percent of respondents enjoyed having a variety of job responsibilities. Of those satisfied with their extra duties, 27.2 percent of their workday was spent on responsibilities not directly related to their job, amounting to about 2.2 hours of an eight-hour workday. Dissatisfied respondents spent 32 percent of their time – or 2.6 hours of the typical workday – on things not in their regular duties.
More than 1 in 4 employees reported having more responsibilities at work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers were almost twice as likely to have to pick up more work than entry-level employees. Nearly half (49.3 percent) of entry-level employees’ workload stayed the same or reduced during the pandemic. Associate-level workers were most likely to have their duties reduced.
The survey showed that 3 in 4 people said they did not want more responsibility at work, but employees in their 20s were the most likely age group to want more responsibility.
Approximately 3 in 5 people agreed that having a workforce made of employees performing a variety of tasks and roles was better for business than employees focusing solely on their assigned roles and responsibilities. Members of management (66.8 percent) were most likely to feel this way. Those with less experience felt having just one role was best for business.
When it came to employees’ preferences, a slight majority (52.5 percent) wanted fewer responsibilities on the job. However, preferences differed based on their job description. Around 66 percent of entry-level workers preferred having few duties, while more than half (55.5 percent) of managers desired more responsibilities.
Whether you are someone who wants to experience as many facets of your company as possible or an employee who specializes in one thing, companies will have you perform the tasks they need for the business to be successful – usually whether the employee likes it or not. While learning new skills can be a good thing, some people feel like they do not have the time to do extra work on top of what they are already doing. Before getting too stressed over the added work, the best way to learn what is expected from you is to talk to your superiors and clarify expectations. Wearing many hats can be difficult, but with proper communication, it can be achieved.
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Karina Tissnes is a communication expert who is passionate about collaboration in the workplace and specializes in team optimization. As a South Florida native, Karina graduated from Lynn University and has since worked in various roles as an editor, writer, commentator and marketing professional.