As working dads seek to spend more time with their children, they’re facing a question already familiar to working mothers: how do you balance career progression with active parenting?
The answer is flexible working. In global research for Regus, 58% of people said flexible working is more family-friendly. By offering staff flexibility over when and where they work, employers can help them reduce their commuting, work at hours that fit with family life, and spend less on childcare.
There’s plenty of evidence that men are varying their working life in order to share childcare – for example 43% of fathers of school-aged children in the UK provide care before/after school.
Offering such employees flexibility over where and when they work is not an act of business altruism. In research for Regus, 72% of companies say their productivity has increased as a result of flexible working practices. Businesses are introducing new working practices, including letting employees work at ‘third spaces’ such as business centres, which offer the facilities of the office closer to home.
Kirsten Morgendaal, South African area director at Regus, comments: “Flexible working practices are evolving from nice option to office essential. They boost productivity and morale, and offer employers access to a bigger talent pool. Businesses that don’t offer more flexibility to their staff risk losing productivity, revenues and talent.”
Adrienne Burgess, joint CEO of the Fatherhood Institute, adds: “Governments can support shared parenting through policy, but businesses also have a part to play, by offering a range of flexible working options. Companies that do this well can attract the best staff and afford them the space to perform well as parents – which in turn makes them more likely to perform well as employees.”
Burgess adds: “Children, fathers, mothers, society – we all benefit from helping dads take part in family life, so let’s support them to do that. Fathering is for all year round, not just Father’s Day.”