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Flexible Working -Dads Crave It Too

Flexible Working -Dads Crave It Too

We recently discussed the idea that businesses need to do more to help mothers return to work after maternity leave. But what about dads?

Research by First4lawyers published earlier this year revealed that the UK lags behind 28 countries when it comes to parental leave provisions.

In fact, it seems that since shared parental leave (SPL) was introduced on April 5 2015, there has been a slow uptake among fathers. Research by My Family Care found that more than 40% of the 200 employers questioned hadn’t seen a single male employee utilise SPL.

While the slow adoption was partly put down to finances, it seems company culture leaves many men worried to take leave. Half of the men questioned said they felt taking leave was seen negatively.

This was echoed in a survey by Deloitte, which found that 54% of all respondents believe colleagues would judge a man more than a woman for taking the same amount of parental leave.

And it seems dads are “silently struggling” with their work-life balance, according to a study by the University of Georgia.

The study, which involved 250,000 global participants, found the majority of working fathers are suffering from stress as a result of trying to balance their work and home lives. However, they often remain silent due to concerns it could threaten their masculinity or have negative repercussions on their careers.

Lead researcher Kristen Shockley said the findings were “contrary” to the public perception that women struggle more with their work-life balance, with the study suggesting that women discussing this balance is seen as more socially acceptable as they are generally perceived as the primary caregivers.

CIPD diversity and inclusion adviser, Dr Jill Miller, urged employers to take a more innovative approach to job design.

She commented: “Flexible working has traditionally been associated with women and childcare responsibilities and, although the extension of the right to request flexible working has moved beyond parents and carers, attitudes are taking longer to catch up.

“Organisations need to work hard to ensure that all staff know how to request to work flexibly and that employers focus on outputs rather than time spent at desks.”

Thanks to the advancement in technology, it is now easier than ever to provide employees with the technologies they need for flexible working.

Cloud computing allows staff to collaborate on documents wherever they are. And it seems businesses are becoming aware of the benefits the cloud brings, as research discussed by Information Age found that, since 2009, spending on cloud computing has grown at a rate 4.5 times faster than the rate of IT spending.

When working for Fujitsu, company flexibility and having the right technology in place enabled E-Resolve’s CEO and founder, Andy, to work from home for two weeks prior to the birth of his daughter and have two weeks’ fully paid and one week unpaid of leave – and this was before current legislation. The company also allowed greater flexibility when his daughter became ill at six weeks. By being able to work from home, and have flexible working hours, some of the stress from this period was alleviated.

It’s time more businesses started investing in technologies that allow flexible working for all their staff. As focus increases on the importance of having a work-life balance, staff will start to look to companies that can provide them with a modern working environment.

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