father and child
Adrian Lewis

Companies need to embrace flexible working for new dads to keep pace with changing attitudes

A new report from parenting web site Daddilife, in association with Deloitte has revealed that more dads than ever before (58%) are now actively involved in day to day parenting and are looking for workplace flexibility, which is still not currently provided by the majority of UK employers.

Whilst it’s great news more new dads want to share the childcare, it’s disappointing that employers are not so keen to embrace changing attitudes and are failing to see the benefits of offering flexible working.

It’s clear progress is being made in society and childcare is no longer seen as just the domain of the mother, but employers appear to be slow in catching up. Those that want to recruit and retain the best people will need to rethink this, as it could mean losing out on talent to companies that have more progressive policies on flexible working.

The report highlighted that 63% of new dads at work have requested a change in working patterns since becoming a father; however whether the requests are granted has been mixed.

14% of millennial dads have requested to work from home between 1-2 days per week, but less than 1 in 5 of those dads (19 percent) are granted it. And nearly 40% of dads have requested a change in working hours, with only 44% of them being unsuccessful.

The report also showed that only 56% of respondents believed that fathers were treated equally to mothers in their workplaces, and 45% of working fathers regularly experienced tension from their employer when trying to balance work and family life demonstrating a growing disconnect between home and workplace.

Since the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment became law in 2014, it’s disappointing that many companies are still resistant. Often we find it’s because they don’t have the systems in place to be able to manage flexible working properly and ensure it’s business as usual.

To operate flexible working effectively it’s essential companies have the right IT systems to keep track of where people are, who is working, who is not and where they will be working. This visibility is crucial so that the normal working day runs smoothly, clients or customers are not inconvenienced and there isn’t a dip in productivity.

Managers need to be confident that when people are working remotely, they are available and as on ball as they would be if they were in the office. Absence management technology can provide this transparency and clarity over who is working where at all times to ensure flexible working works for both the company and the employee.

For companies looking to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to recruitment and retention, then implementing flexible working for new dads, as well as the wider workforce can be a big incentive, and in turn lead to happier and more productive employees.

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