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Fathers championing flexible work

Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit this year, flexible work practices haven’t been that accessible to men, despite 60% of men wanting to work flexibly.

For the first time ever, in 2020 we’re seeing entire workforces experiencing some form of flexible work, and whether it’s the CEO or assistant, man or woman, parent or single person, they are all having shared experiences, proving flexible work can be done and the benefits of it to individuals, families and organisations.

Just like women have wanted flexible work arrangements to manage caring responsibilities, household work, their wellbeing, entrepreneurial ambitions and the like, men seek flexible work for these reasons too.

“Men want to be present fathers and partners as well as loyal and engaged workers,” says Libby Lyons of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

“An increasing number of young fathers want to live their lives differently from the way their own fathers did…” Annabel Crabb explains in Men at Work: Australia’s Parenthood Trap.

Research by the Diversity Council of Australia found flexible work is very appealing to young fathers, but there is a significant gap between what these men want to do and what they actually do:

  • 80% of them want to choose their start and finish times, and only 40% do;

  • 80% want to work a compressed working week, and only 24% do;

  • 56% want to work part or regular hours at home, while only 13% actually do.

So why such a big gap? Well, there are several reasons, including:

  • The culture of where you work and live (country and city).

  • The flexible work and parental leave policies in your workplace and country.

  • Guilt, shaming and conforming to traditional expectations.

  • Lack of training and support in how to ask for and successfully work flexible practices.

  • Role models.

Men working in workplaces with males championing flexible work practices and/or male family or friends working flexibly are much more likely to ask for and adopt flexible working.

So this Father’s Day, we want to help more dads access flexible work practices (working remotely, non-traditional hours, compressed hours, job share, part-time hours, purchased or unplanned leave) by sharing some of the many great stories of fathers and grandfathers championing flexible work:

“[The benefits experienced in working from home are] no commute for either of us was awesome. Having the kids all day long was really nice to do craft and emulate some day care activities. We had to keep reminding ourselves it was a special time i.e. to get this time before they go to school etc. It may never happen again.” Declan, Dad of two and Business Owner. Read Declan’s full flex work story here.

“I will be working from home more often in the future (as long as the kids aren't there!). I can be more productive with no commute time and more flexible working hours. Prior to COVID-19, I worked at home once a month. After COVID-19, I expect to work from home at least 2 days a week - if not more.” Sam, Dad of two and Commercial Manager. Read Sam’s full flex work story here.

“Along with working non-traditional and compressed hours, I’ve also experienced occasionally working remotely, where I take the occasional work phone call, email or assignment to deal with at home. When COVID-19 hit I took some unplanned leave due to state borders closing and a change in roster and work circumstances. Having 4.5 months off with my family was an incredible experience.” Adam, Dad of one and FIFO Tug Boat Master. Read Adam’s full story here.

“Getting clear on what you want in flexible working and job share is really important to help find the right role for you and in conversations with HR, managers, your job share partner. I found a few coaching sessions with Ness at Job Pair to be incredibly helpful with this.” Rob, Dad of two, Grandfather of one, Senior Technical Officer. Read Rob’s transition to part-time story here and his work from home experience here.

"It just made sense that the power of the two is stronger than the power of the one. They've got complementary skills, they play in different positions, they play a different style but they both have a massive impact on the game. I think we've got the benefit of two great leaders going forward." Don Pyke, Adelaide Crows coach said when announcing Taylor Walker and Rory Sloane would co-captain (aka job share) the AFL team in 2019.

To all dads and grandfathers, I wish you a very happy and special Father’s Day this Sunday. For those of you championing flexible work practices, keep up your great work. I hope it’s working well for you, and feel free to contact me with your story or for more info.

Yours truly,


P.S. – if you are seeking resources on how to work flexibly here’s some more helpful tools:

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