The report found that 28 per cent of fathers in the UK are unhappy with their work-life balance, with 53 per cent suggesting they would prefer to work remotely from home or leave the office an hour earlier.
Furthermore, 50 per cent said they felt that working flexibly was perceived as a sign of lack of commitment and, as a result, were afraid of asking. This went hand-in-hand with the worry that it would affect career progression.
Those surveyed claimed that while society had changed, with many of their female partners working, old attitudes in the workplace still prevailed. The view that the working woman should take responsibility for children still remained, the report said, noting that when a childcare emergency occurred there was a “general sense” in the office of “can’t your wife deal with it?”
Out of the 1,000 that had been surveyed, 30 fathers were part of one-to-one interviews. Respondents felt the issue around flexibility was down to a generational gap, where male senior managers, with grown-up children, were married to stay-at-home mothers. It was suggested that such bosses didn’t understand the issues that modern day fathers face from a practical, emotional or a cultural sense.
“Work-life balance is a personal thing and different for everyone, but these stats show a trend that dads feel like they’re getting it wrong,” said Al Ferguson, founder of The Dad Network. He suggested that getting a good work-life balance is crucial to effective parenting, citing getting home in time for bath time as his biggest opportunity to bond with his son.
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Ben Black, director of My Family Care, claimed that two out of three mothers are in employment. This meant that once the maternity leave period of parenthood comes to an end, working couples share childcare responsibilities equally, he said.
The research also asked fathers for their thoughts on Shared Parental Leave. Just 20 per cent said they had seen any impact of it in the company they worked for. However, 49 per cent of those planning another child were open to the idea.
Alongside the research, My Family Care asked the 30 interviewed fathers how more flexibility would help them.
It was suggested that working from home one day a week would make a difference.
One father said: “More flexibility around working hours would be better; it would be good to be able to say ‘okay, well I would like to pick up my child from school one day and then I will work a couple of hours in the evening’. So if I left earlier, made the most of the time with the children and then worked from seven until nine in the evening from home when it’s quiet. If I could do that, that would be great.”
Another claimed that more examples from senior management of flexible working would help, while another highlighted that bosses imposed unrealistic demands on time and should make an effort to understand the logistics of taking kids to and from nursery.
Help with the cost of childcare while at work was also deemed as important.
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