Category Archives: media

Media clipping related to work autonomy, flexibility and work-life balance.

Dads struggle to find work-life balance – Business Matters

Interviews with fathers who have children under school age have shown that almost two thirds feel that their work pattern does not suit their needs. A quarter say they are unhappy with their work-life balance.

Half these fathers, who represent a range of sectors and seniority levels, suggested that remote working or flexitime would help their situation. However, a similar proportion were afraid to ask for flexible working as it would demonstrate a lack of commitment. 42% felt that it would affect their career progression.

Read more at Business Matters.

 

The 24/7 Work Culture’s Toll on Families and Gender Equality – New York Times

It has often been assumed that a lack of family-friendly policies has kept many women from promotion to the highest ranks of the business world, and companies are starting to address this concern.

It may be that the lack of family-friendly policies may not be the most pressing issue. Rather the surge in hours worked by both men and women should be of primary concern as 24/7 work cultures ‘lock gender inequality in place’.

Issues of work-family conflict remain understood as primarily a woman’s problem; family-friendly policies designed to deal with work-family conflict target women and have unintended negative consequences for their careers. Yet, providing family-friend policy allows companies to focus on a narrow set of fixes and ignore more difficult questions about cultures of overwork.

Read more at the New York Times.

The Problem with Part-Time Work Is That It’s Rarely Part-Time – Harvard Business Review

Many mothers looking to return work assume part-time schedules would be an ideal solution. However, research shows that many of those working mothers on official part-time schedules work well outside the bounds of them. Researcher Laura Vanderkam points out that:

Even though the part-timers had often taken pay cuts, and risked being seen as less committed to their careers than full-time colleagues, they weren’t necessarily working that much less.

Thus, rather than shifting to part-time contracts, returning mothers should consider returning full-time but with flexible working patterns.

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

If We Want to Help Working Mothers, We Could Start With Paid Paternity Leave – XX Factor

Studies show that statutory maternity leaves and affordable childcare often have unintended consequences for women – such as reduced earnings, or discriminatory hiring practices by employers.

These negative effects should not be understood as undermining the case for such initiatives. Rather, they demonstrate that the assumption remains that childcare and other family responsibilities are the sole duty of women.

Family-friendly policy should be crafted to encourage greater uptake by both men and women, to help change the kinds of attitudes that rewards working men who become fathers and penalises women who become mothers.

Read more at XX Factor.

Why Some Men Pretend to Work 80-Hour Weeks – Harvard Business Review

Research at a global strategy consulting firm with a strong US presence found that many men are dissatisfied with the expectation that they perform the role of the ‘ideal worker’ who is fully devoted to, and available for, the job, with no personal responsibilities or interests that interfere with this commitment to work.

To deal with their dissatisfaction some men made discrete changes to still ‘pass’ as ideal workers. Others, who asked for help from managers and colleagues, often faced marginalisation in the workplace.

While attempting to covertly ‘pass’ as the ideal worker may seem preferably, this has several drawbacks: it involves deception between employers and employees; it’s a strategy that isn’t open to everyone, and; it perpetuates myths about the best workers being the ones who apparently work longest.

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

Staff think flexible working can make them seem lazy – Business Insider

A survey of 500 hiring managers and more than 1,500 professionals across Australia and New Zealand has shown what employers and employees fear most about flexible working.

For staff, the biggest concern is that they’ll be perceived as lazy (51%). This is followed by fear that flexible work will have negative impacts on their career progression (43%) and fear of resentment from co-workers (38%).

Employers are most concerned about not treated all employees equally (51%). There are also issues of trust, the following two concerns being employee abuse of flexible policies (49%) and difficulty in supervising employees who work flexibly (44%).

Read more at Business Insider.

Work email is making us a ‘generation of idiots’. Time to switch off – The Guardian

The downsides of email now outweigh the benefits as they promote unmanageable workloads and supplant face-to-face discussions. Moreover, these negative impacts extend beyond the workplace and into workers’ homes. New technology encourages checking and replying to email while not at work, with consequences for individuals’ quality of life.

Employers have a role to play in helping employees manage email and encourage use that doesn’t negative affect work-life balance. Guidelines should discourage email use while not working, avoid unnecessarily including too many people in group emails, and to prefer face-to-face meetings between colleagues in the same building.

Read more at The Guardian.

Stop Punishing the Family Man – HBR Blog

Men in the United States continue to face discrimination in the workplace for failing to maintain the appearance of the ‘ideal worker’, who is fully committed to work at the exclusion of family life. Even where they are taking pre-arranged or legally sanctioned leave, to care for a sick partner or new child, men face workplace stigma, marginalisation and even face losing their job.

Importantly, such workplace discrimination is ‘policed by men, but also, significantly, by women,’ says Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law.

Read more at the HBR Blog.

 

Charities risk losing staff if they fail to promote wellbeing – The Guardian

Staff working for charities may be more susceptible to overwork and ill effects from poor work-life balance.

Those working for charities often feel they need to work harder because failure to do so lets down the beneficiaries of their charities. The passion many employees in this sector feel for their work can lead to the blurring of boundaries between work and personal commitment.

Read more on The Guardian.

Flexibility ‘a pipe dream’ for low paid workers – FlexibleBoss

In 2014 Working Families received almost 3,000 calls to its legal advice helpline. Based on this the charity points out that, while workers have the right to request flexible working, for those in low paid sectors flexible working remains a ‘pipe dream’.

Working Families notes that retail, social care, catering and hospitality sectors rely on ‘casualised’ labour, offering contracts that offer little job security and few guaranteed hours:

By their nature, such insecure jobs, with varying and unpredictable weekly hours… [that] make it very difficult if not impossible for workers to successfully request a change in their hours or working pattern to accommodate a change in their family circumstances, or to resist a problematic change in their hours or working pattern…

They point out that refusal to change working hours, often at short notice, “can easily lead to there being no work at all”. An issue exacerbated by the imposition of employment tribunal fees in 2013.

Read more at FlexibleBoss.