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

June 4, 2015

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.

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

May 29, 2015

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.

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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.

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

May 21, 2015

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.

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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.

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