When you think of the type of employee who would need work flexibility, what comes to mind? A frantic, frazzled working mom trying to juggle never-ending deadlines, and a minivan full of kids with crazy schedules, right? While it’s true that working mothers represent the epitome of the need for workplace flexibility, let’s not forget about the working dads, too.
Work flexibility benefits working mothers and working fathers, and as such, both groups need work flexibility. Jennifer Parris, career writer for FlexJobs and outlets like Salary.com and Mashable, explains why.
Dual Breadwinners Equal Dual Needs for Flexibility
In the past, when dads were the primary breadwinners, moms stayed home to raise the children. The division of labor was fairly straightforward: dads brought home the bacon, and moms were responsible for frying it. Today, with the majority of households consisting of dual breadwinners, the roles that mothers and fathers have previously held have changed dramatically.
The Modern Day Working Dad
The study “The New Dad: A Work (and Life) in Progress” from Boston College Center for Work & Family outlines what today’s working father looks like, and what his needs are. As it turns out, working dads need work flexibility, too. According to the study, more than three quarters of fathers used flextime on a formal or an informal basis. Add to that the 57 percent who work from home at least part-time, and 27 percent who worked a compressed work week, and it’s easy to see that working dads want to help with raising their children, too.
Supporting Flexible Work Helps Working Parents Succeed
Work flexibility is important, but what is even more crucial for all working parents is the feeling that their bosses understand and support the concept of work flexibility. Interestingly enough, 57 percent of those surveyed said that their supervisor was supportive of work flexibility. In addition, a whopping 89 percent stated that their manager accommodated them when they needed to take care of family matters. That level of understanding makes a huge difference in how successful an employee (or in this case, a working father) will be at his job.
When a worker feels that his boss respects his flexible schedule, it provides a more nurturing work environment, and creates a greater alignment between work life and family life. In essence, it creates work-life balance. When employees are happier, they become more productive, more invested and loyal to their organizations, too.
More Dads Taking Paternity Leave, Other Work Flex Options
So how are working dads taking advantage of their flex? Well, it seems they are utilizing flex as soon as they become dads! More fathers are taking paternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child, and the number of dads who telecommute is on the rise. Just like working moms, dads are using flex so they can continue working in the careers that they’ve built, but still take the time to coach soccer and help out around the house, too. Today’s working parents work as a team to support each other’s careers and take care of the kids, so that both parents can achieve work-life balance.
The stereotypical image of a dad with a briefcase working from 9-5 in a traditional office is slowly fading into the past. The working father of today needs (and is asking for!) work flexibility. He’s hands-on with his family, and while he loves his job, he equally loves his family and wants to be there for all those special moments with them. It seems that working dads want exactly what working moms want: to have the work-life balance that comes with a flexible schedule.