Tag Archives: Stigma

Men want work-life balance too – Cosmopolitan

This article notes that while stay-at-home fathers remain relatively rare, their numbers have doubled over the past decade, from 1 to 2 million. It notes that ‘Millennial’ men are more likely to assume their partner’s careers will have equal importance to their own and are less likely to expect that female partners will do the majority of childcare.

However, it further notes that while couples that share domestic work and paid work more event are less likely to divorce, and have more sex, there remains stigma attached to men who actively balance work and family life, and that fathers ‘who talk about being a parent at work are viewed as both lesser workers and lesser men’.

Read more at Cosmopolitan

Minimal take-up of flexible working in UK despite policy shift – FT

New research finds that though 97% of UK workplaces offer at least one form of flexible working, including job sharing, flexitime and working remotely, over the past six years there had not been great increases in take-up. Furthermore, only 19% of working  women in the UK were able to vary the hours they work, this is compared to 41% in Sweden.

This is despite major UK policy initiatives designed to extend the uptake of flexible working.

It is suggested that cultural factors may explain low uptake – over 40% of employees, male and female, reporting that they would feel uncomfortable asking to work flexibly.

Read more at the FT.

Flexible Policies, Closed Minds: Flexibility Stigma and Participation in Family-Friendly Programs at Work

Dr. Jade S. Jenkins is currently the academic assessment coordinator at Texas A&M – Texarkana. She earned her Ph.D in social and industrial-organizational psychology from Northern Illinois University, and her research interests include occupational health psychology, stereotypes, and the self . Here she writes about how those who utilize family-friendly policies may face stigma from colleagues and managers. Continue reading

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women – Harvard Business Review

This article looks at the experiences of graduates from Harvard Business School’s MBA programme, to learn what they had to say about work and family and how their experiences, attitudes, and decisions might shed light on current debates about women in the workplace.

The authors found that both men and women shared similar goals and aspirations upon graduation, often citing reaching certain career levels/job titles. Today, however, family happiness, relationships, and balancing life and work, along with community service and helping others, are much more on the minds of these graduates.

However, while their goals may be equivalent across genders, this article notes that their ability to meet these aspirations has played out differently for men and women.

Among those who are employed full-time, men are more likely to “have direct reports, to hold profit-and-loss responsibility, and to be in senior management positions”. Moreover, the authors found that women are less satisfied with their careers:

Whereas about 50% to 60% of men across the three generations told us they were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experiences of meaningful work, professional accomplishments, opportunities for career growth, and compatibility of work and personal life, only 40% to 50% of women were similarly satisfied on the same dimensions.

This is in a context where it is ‘understood’ that women are also less work-focussed, and will ‘opt-out’ of work to assume the role of primary-caregiver for children/relatives, despite evidence that high proportion of women remain in full-time work. Indeed, most men surveyed assumed their careers would take priority over their opposite-sex spouse, and even for the women who had egalitarian career expectations, around half also assumed that they would perform most of the child care in their families.

The article concludes by suggesting that men, organisations and women need to overcome myths and assumptions about women’s attitudes towards work, and role as primary caregiver.

 

Read more at the HBR Blog.

Flex Time Doesn’t Need to Be an HR Policy – HBR Blog

This article reports data from a new survey of working men. It notes that informal flexibility arrangements are much more prevalent, with 66% reporting ad-hoc arrangements. Only 29% reported having regularly scheduled flexible working arrangements.

The author suggests that the prevalence of informal arrangements may be a boon as it normalise flexible working. This may encourage more employees to take advantage of flexible working with reduced workplace stigma, and spur employers and employees to embrace flexibility in the future.

Read more at HBR Blog.

Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma – New York Times

This article notes that fathers who opt to take paternity leave can still face workplace stigma, and it can lead to lower pay and fewer promotions. This mirrors long-standing disadvantages experienced by new mothers in the workplace.

While paternity leave can have long-lasting beneficial effects for both parent and child, taking time off work for family reasons has been shown to reduce men’s earnings, just as it reduced women’s earnings. The article further argues that there are “unwritten workplace norms” that can discourage men from taking advantage of it. Moreover, the share of US companies offering paternity leave has dropped by five percent between 2010 and 2014.

The author point out that this also has implications for women’s involvement in the workplace, as increasing men’s involvement at home is one of the best ways to bolster female participation in the workforce.

Read more at The New York Times.

Whatever happened to remote working? – The Guardian

Only 13% of the UK workforce work from home despite research suggesting a 13% increase in productivity for remote workers. This article questions why remote working has not become mainstream suggesting multiple issues, including:

  • A lack of trust in employees to work effectively without supervision.
  • A belief on the part of employees that promotion will be harder to achieve while working out-of-sight.
  • The attraction of the office as a social space.
  • Availability of, and costs involved in properly equipping the home with, necessary technology.
  • Laws that only grant parents the right to request flexible working.

Read more at The Guardian.

Winning Support for Flexible Work – HBR Blog

Even as new communications technologies make flexible working more possible the reality is that few companies have official policies and even fewer managers are open to or equipped to handle employees with alternative schedules. Furthermore, despite research demonstrating improved productivity, there are still issues of trust, with a persistent belief that flexible and remote working encourages a lax attitude to work.

This blog post suggests that workers may be able to help themselves get the flexible working patterns they want by being clear about what they need, and by working with employers to respond to their needs and show that work does get done and that flexible working may even be a net gain to the organisation.

Read more on the HBR Blog.