The Surprising Reality Of The Working Dads Movement

We’ve all started hearing it — the term “working dad.” Some may be saying it with confidence, but others might be snickering away, thinking, “Great, here comes another phrase for people to go crazy over.” Reality is, it’s not a new concept. Working dads have existed since cavemen had babies. But as the workplace continues to grow beyond a 9-to-5 job and the corner office is no longer the most prized possession, we all need to sit up and take note of what real people, real dads, find value in.

The Working Dad of Today

So working dads are nothing new, but the role of today’s father is definitely more involved than that of previous generations. Even though working hours haven’t really changed, dads are more hands on than ever before. Consider the following statistics provided by What to Expect:

  • 60% of fathers take paternity leave. U.S. law didn’t even require paternity leave until 1983.
  • Dads spend 10 hours on weekly chores now, which is twice more than in 1965.
  • 60% of dads shop for groceries, while 50% do the actual cooking.
  • 60% also put their kids to bed and take them to the doctor

With fathers doing more at home while office requirements remain the same, many of the respondents to the survey said that they have little time for personal matters or have no control over their work schedule. In short, life’s becoming busier and more stressful for them.

Working Dads More Likely To Get Flexible Hours

According to a study conducted by Christian Munsch, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Furman University:

70% of respondents would “likely” or “very likely” grant a dad’s request to work from home twice a week to take care of a child as compared to only 57% for moms.

That’s a pretty staggering difference. The same study goes on to prove in numerous ways that employers still view moms to be more “distracted” from work because of children as compared to dads. What does this mean for working dads? That employers think dads are better able to achieve work-life balance than moms. Meaning they’re quite likely to grant requests for flexible work hours even if not’s a regular company policy.

3 Working Dads To Follow on Social Media

If you need some inspiration on men who seem to have it all down — from fatherhood to leadership, follow these guys on social media. They’re well known in their industries and provide some great advice on work-life balance for men.

1. Richard Branson – CEO, Virgin Airways

This world-changing globetrotter has the following advice to give regarding life and fatherhood:

“But rather than thinking of these two aspects [work and family] of your life as antagonistic, why not combine them? As I’ve often said, I don’t divide work and play: It’s all living.”

2. Robert Lanoue — Partner, Deloitte

As an obsessive scheduler, Lanoue — father of two kids — believes work-life balance is a necessity to retain key talent:

“Helping both new mothers and fathers through this transition is a key strategy for [companies] to make sure that they maintain talent.”

3. Scott Behson – Professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Another firm believer in the importance of work-life balance for families and the society, Behson says:

“I believe all dads deserve this opportunity, and that dads, moms, kids, families and our society all benefit when dads get to immerse themselves in the life of their children in such a uniquely intimate and transformative way.”

It’s fair to say that if the White House is taking notice of the changing role of fathers in the workforce, everyone else should probably be listening too. Perhaps “working dad” is not quite a movement, more like bringing the actual role of dads into the spotlight and making sure a conducive workplace is created for them. Whether it’s “Dad and Me” activities or more open-minded policies, there are a number of actions that any workplace can take. Would love to hear what you think works for you or the rest of your team.

photo credit: nrkbeta via photopin cc