Working fathers want to 'have it all,' too

Dads hope to tap into flexible workplace policies originally created for working moms

A new generation of fathers is joining the conversation about the importance of work-life balance, a debate that has long been led by working women, the Wall Street Journal's Lauren Weber and Joann Lublin report.

The number of dual-employed couples with kids is growing, and more men are taking on family and household responsibilities once fulfilled primarily by women. Those working fathers now are asking their companies for helping tapping workplace policies originally created for working mothers.

One Fortune 500 CEO has banned 'work from home'—will more follow?

"There is considerable confusion and angst among young men about how they're going to make it work," says Stew Friedman, head of the Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

Currently, "The number of U.S. employers taking extra steps to specifically listen to what working dads need, and not just create initiatives that are gender-neutral, is quite small,'' says Ellen Galinsky, who leads the Families and Work Institute. Moreover, employers still tend to promote employees who seem to be willing to sacrifice their personal and family lives for their careers, according to ThirdPath Institute's Jessica DeGroot.

If the boss works long hours, must you?

But Galinsky predicts that more employers will change their attitudes, "especially as young fathers become more assertive about their needs in caring for their children." Brad Harrington of the Boston College Center for Work Family predicts that future leaders—male and female—will curb their ambitions or turn down promotions if policies do not change.

The White House this week gathered government officials, business executives, and parents to discuss the issue (Weber/Lublin, Wall Street Journal, 6/12).

How important is having an effective manager?


85% of employees with excellent managers are engaged versus only 17% of employees with poor managers—that's quite a large discrepancy. On the flipside, less than 1% of employees with excellent managers are disengaged, versus nearly 25% of employees who rate their manager as problematic.

And one of the key components of manager effectiveness is the manager's ability to help balance employees' work and personal lives.


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