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Why dads need more flexible working hours

flexible working
Written by Michael Higgs

With the rise of the working mother, we look at how dads are deciding for the stay-at-home option.

The workforce is changing at a quick pace. More and more employees want greater flexibility, demanding control over how, when and where they work. The 9-5 working pattern is quickly becoming less usual, with the concept of home offices increasing in popularity.

But while women benefit from this change, many employers still expect men to endure long and inflexible hours. Two recent surveys by Workingmums.co.uk, sponsored by McDonald’s, reported on the current state of flexible working in the UK.

What the mums say

According to the survey, 59 per cent of mums say their spouse doesn’t have flexible working hours, and merely 4 per cent say their partner works part-time. Meanwhile, women working flexibly, especially those working part-time, voiced dissatisfaction about having to pause their career progression.

A total of 49 per cent of working mums said flexible working is a barrier to their career progression. A further 54 per cent said they miss out on further progression opportunities otherwise available. Despite this fact, 56 per cent worry that flexible working will become obsolete eventually, demonstrating that they value the greater liberty it provides.

What the dads say

An overwhelming majority of 73 per cent of dads said they were considering going for more flexible working hours. However, 72 per cent showed great concerns about the reaction of their superiors should they venture to request a change.

Further findings

Furthermore, 35 per cent of parents said that Shared Parental Leave would be an alternative for them if it wasn’t for the financial drawbacks associated with this model. However, a relatively large fraction of 24 per cent mums said they wouldn’t consider sharing the leave.

What these findings tell us

While flexible working could hinder career progression, both mums and dads would welcome more flexibility in the workplace. This development is mainly motivated by the constraints two working parents face with respect to spending time with their children and partaking in their upbringing.

Employers should acknowledge the survey and realise the necessity to consider giving employees a way into flexible working. With the new possibilities offered by the connectivity of the internet, the old 9-5 day is becoming increasingly unfeasible. Eventually, it is likely to give way to a more dynamic work environment, better suited to the structure of modern family life.

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