Dad’s want flexible work too

by Astrid Wilson30 Aug 2012

It’s not just Mums who want the option to work flexibly – many Dads want flexible work options but are reluctant to ask out of fears for their careers.

According to a new report from the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA), Men Get Flexible, men rank flexibility at work in their top five most desired job elements. What’s more, men under the age of 35 say the option to work flexibility makes their list of the top three most important employment factors.

Key findings included:

  • Some 79% of young fathers said they would prefer to choose their start and finish times, yet just 41% had the option to do so.
  • Similarly, 79% would prefer to work a compressed work week but only 24% did.
  • In contrast to female employees, men were most interested in compressed work-weeks and working from home rather than part-time work.

The report urges employers and HR to have conversations with male staff in order to discuss flexible work options, and allay fears of career penalties by designing new roles with ­flexibility as standard, integrating flexibility into senior roles and giving examples of successful cases of flexible work among other staff members. “Smart employers [accommodate flexibility] because they recognise talent when they see it. They are willing to think outside the square to create a role that fulfils both the employee’s and the organisation’s needs. They also understand that the measure of success for any role has to be about outcomes rather than bums on seats,” Nareen Young from DCA said. She added it makes no sense for employees to watch talented people walk out the door because their request can’t be accommodated. “It makes no sense for employers to waste talent,” Young said.

No. 1 takeaway

Organisations need to change their culture around flexible working and challenge the stigma of working part-time. This means ensuring those who work flexibly are ‘accepted’ and making sure flexible working is seen as the way things are normally done – and not the exception to the rule.

According to DCA, a workplace culture of flexibility means:

  • A culture of flexibility that attracts and retains talent
  • Those who engage in flexible work progress in their careers
  • Everyone, at all levels, engages in flexible work
  • All forms of flexible work are engaged in
  • The approach to flexible work is dynamic, adapting to the changing needs of individuals and the organisation
  • There is a proactive approach to flexible work that is evident in both the business strategy and in management behaviour
  • Flexible work is evident in both formal and informal processes
  • Flexible work is engaged in for any reason
  • Flexible work is based on trust
  • Flexible work is a tool for increasing business performance.


Most Read