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Workplace Cultures Unsupportive Of Work-Life Balance

Many fathers find their workplace unsupportive of their aspirations for a better work-life fit, a new study by charity Working Families has found.

The 2017 Modern Families Index report details the findings of 2,750 working parents that were surveyed as part of the annual study. It found:

  • Seven out of ten fathers work flexibly to fulfil their caring responsibilities.
  • Half the fathers indicated work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress.
  • 44% have lied to their employer about family responsibilities that ‘get in the way’ of work.
  • A third spoke of feeling burnt out regularly.
  • One in five fathers are doing extra hours in the evening or weekends.

Workplace culture in the UK was identified as a key problem by the study.

Fathers participating in the study felt that being seen to do additional hours is important where they work. Twice the number of fathers to mothers believe that flexible workers are viewed as less committed, and that working flexibly will have a negative impact on their career.

One fifth felt their employer was unsympathetic about childcare, and expected no disruption to work. Many said they would not even tell their employer they had childcare problems for fear of being viewed negatively.

Encouraging Workplace Change

So what can employers do to help their employees to achieve a better work-life balance?

First of all they need to be equally supportive of all staff in finding the right fit. Ensuring roles are flexible and that tasks can be reasonably expected to be completed within normal working hours is a good start.

To increase flexibility, employers may want to consider allowing home working where possible. Even allowing just one day per week can be of great benefit to employees.

Restricting working hours maybe a good way of accelerating a cultural shift. Employers can limit how many hours are expected of an employee in a given period, even stopping certain services, such as e-mail, outside of office hours.

Providing childcare benefits is a way of actively supporting parents. This, coupled with proactively offering parental leave to new parents will show an employer understands the work-life balance their staff seek.

Employment Policy Reviews

We always advise our employer clients to review their employment contracts, policies, and procedures on a regular basis. It is vital all employment documents are not only in-line with the latest employment law, but also help to promote the desired culture of the company.

For further advice on any of the points raised in this blog, e-mail kevin.lynch@fishers-dewes.co.uk.

Additional Reading
Gov.uk employer and employee guide to unpaid parental leave – eligibility, how much leave can be taken and notice periods.
Gov.uk guide to flexible working.