Welcome to ThirdShift FAQs

Below are our FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions and answers. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, contact us.

Mental Load is the mental work of having to constantly remember, organise, account for, plan and manage your life and the lives of others in your household. It’s sometimes referred to as being the CEO or Manager of the household. It frequently involves delegating tasks to others, or being asked “how can I help” when it comes to household tasks, instead of others taking complete ownership of tasks.

Mental Load comes with the assumption of being ultimately responsible for all matters relating to household management. Two adults in a household are not sharing responsibilities if they assume roles where one person is the de facto “manager” and the other is a de factor “subordinate”. The manager is responsible, and may delegate tasks to others to perform. But this still entails responsibility for ensuring that tasks are completed, on time, and that needs are met.

If you’re still unsure, the best explanation of Mental Load I’ve ever encountered is this excellent cartoon by French cartoonist Emma.

So what’s wrong with one person being the manager at home? Assuming that one person is responsible (whether consciously or otherwise), can mean that the adults are not behaving as equals. This dynamic can place strain on relationships and marriages. It can be a source of stress and overwork where household work hours significantly outnumber hours of paid work. And it can impact the physical and mental health of the person bearing this workload.

There can also be an element of gas-lighting about Mental Load that contributes to the problem. Because it’s mental work, it generally goes unseen and unappreciated by other members of the household, compounding the problem. Someone bearing mental load may feel that they are the problem. That they’re just not able to cope with something others find easy. That’s most often not the case, but the lack of awareness can make it feel like that.

Mental Load is often associated with not being about to ‘switch off’ and relax. It can prevent you from being able to fully enjoy leisure time. And it’s mostly invisible to the people who aren’t experiencing it.

It is work that is disproportionately done by women, and it’s the problem that ThirdShift was founded to address.

Yes. Housework is the physical work that needs to be done to manage a household. Though, of course, some of this is mental as well – such as managing finances or administrative work like calendar management. These tasks can be a source of Mental Load, but they’re not the same thing.

Household work goes beyond what most people think of – it’s not just cleaning, cooking and laundry. 

  • It also includes care work – whether it’s childcare, elder care or other care responsibilities. It includes social and family management. Keeping track of everyone’s appointments and commitments. Maintaining social connections with friends and family. Managing household finances. Maintenance and repairs, including care for outdoor spaces. Cleaning, servicing and maintenance of vehicles. Pet care. 

Households and their needs will vary, but housework is far bigger than many people realise. Mental Load is the mental work in keeping track of the housework, but is separate from it. 

If you’d like to understand more about the categories, hours of work and value of the work in your household take the ThirdShift Quiz now.

We’re currently working hard on getting the ThirdShift app ready for our first users. Click here to register your interest, and we’ll notify you when it’s ready to use.

In the meantime, you can start understanding your household work now by taking the ThirdShift quiz – it’s free and only takes 3 minutes.

Once the app is ready, to get started with ThirdShift:

1. Click on “Get Started” to take the quiz. Provide some basic characteristics of your household and see your results to get an overview of your total hours of work, percentage share, and value of the work you do.

2. Create your account.

3. Start managing your household work.

Explore our Features to find out more.

An average household with children involves over 100 hours of work per week. And the value of this work can be £80,000/US$80,000 or more. 

This is work that is not typically measured. It doesn’t appear in GDP calculations for national or global economies. It isn’t well understood or distributed, even at a household level.

For the individuals doing this work, it’s problematic. Stay at home parents frequently work 80 or more hours per week. With no sick leave or holidays. They can’t kick back and relax in the evenings. And they may not get a full night’s sleep. At the same time, they often report feeling guilty because they don’t contribute to the household financially. This impacts self-esteem, mental health and wellbeing.

The lack of data and measurement reflects the lack of value our society accords this work. But the work is both necessary and essential to the health and wellbeing of the individuals in the household.

Therefore, at ThirdShift we believe that the first step is to help individuals and households. We make the work visible, raise awareness of value, and make it easier to distribute the work more equally.

Start understanding the value of your household work now by taking the ThirdShift Quiz.

Yes. The economic value ThirdShift shows to users is based on the actual replacement cost in your location. We have taken the equivalent professional role, temp role or gig-based task rate for each household task, and use this in calculating the value. 

This value is real because it’s intended to be the rate that you could pay to have a task completed if you are unable to manage it within the household. It can be understood as either the value of the work you’re doing, or as the money that you are saving your household by completing a task yourself.

Unpaid work is not visible or valued in part because it isn’t paid for. That’s why ThirdShift aims to make it more visible and help the people doing the work – and their household – to value and appreciate this work more through understanding it’s economic value.

Ready to start valuing your household work?