A lot of work flexibility talk is geared towards women, and specifically mothers. But while, historically, mothers have carried the load when it comes to caring for children, modern dads are taking a more active role, becoming stay-at-home dads or trying to better balance work and fatherhood.
Compelling research from the Boston College Center for Work & Family, a 1 Million for Work Flexibility Supporter, cites the variety of ways working fathers use work flexibility. After surveying almost 1,000 working dads, the BCCWF’s report, The New Dad: A Work (and Life) in Progress, notes that more than 75 percent use flextime formally or informally, 57 percent work from home at least some of the time, and 27 percent use compressed workweeks where they work a regular workweek in four, rather than five, days.
Furthermore, the report looks at how fathers view their responsibilities to their children, and the majority of dads say they see an equal need to care for their children AND earn money to support them. Considering the traditional “breadwinner” role of the father, it seems the trend for today’s dads is toward a blend of direct care for children and monetary support. It makes sense, then, that more dads than ever before are looking for flexible work options to help them balance these two responsibilities.
A particular point of interest is that more dads say their responsibility to their children is, “mostly caring for my child, but also earning some money…” rather than solely “earning money to meet my child’s financial needs.” While providing an income is still important, working fathers today are definitely placing more of an emphasis on their need to care for their children directly.
As more dads seek flexible work options, we predict that work flexibility will grow and expand for all workers, rather than being seen as something only mothers need. Working mothers and fathers, military spouses, students, people with disabilities, caregivers, retirees or those near retirement, and anyone looking for better work-life balance can all benefit from work flexibility—including employers!
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