Why Moms AND Dads Need More Flexibility at Work

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.

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Deborah J.
Deborah J.about a year ago

I don't know whether's it's by [Israeli] law or decided by the employer - but the NPO I work for gives up to five day's annual medical leave for taking care of a parent or child, in addition to the employee's own health needs (e.g. dr. and lab visits are covered but repeated treatments you're expected to schedule outside of work hours).

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saezabout a year ago

With the aging population....we need flexibility for all. TYFS

JL A.about a year ago

thanks--now to get more employers on board. The biggest problem historically was the supervisors and managers who limited themselves to seats visible on chairs view of managing the work of their people,

Leslie W.
Leslie W.about a year ago

So many parents work different shifts from each other so that their relationship suffers, even if there is always one parent available to be with the kids. Unhappy parents= stress at home and work. Companies will never learn that happy, lower stress employees are good for the bottom line.

Janet B.
Janet B.about a year ago


Diane K.
Diane K.about a year ago

Productivity improves when employees feel valued. Having options sends workers a positive message

Barbara L.
Past Member about a year ago

Flexibility should be a part of the work environment -- it should not require being a parent -- sometimes an adult is taking care of a mother or father. Flex-time can be worked out effectively. A happy workforce is a more productive workforce.

Susan T.
Susan T.about a year ago

Thank you Jan N. Agreed. People with kids get special treatment at times and us without have to pick up the slack.

Tara B.
Tara B.about a year ago

I just wish people would stop having children.

Work flexibility for parents who adopt a child would be a good thing, but if they are selfishly having biological children, why enable that by providing job flexibility? Make it as hard on them as possible. Maybe they will stop breeding like rabbits.

Jan N.
Jan N.about a year ago

All employees could benefit from more flexibility. No special accommodations for breeders.