A survey by Working Mother shows that not just women value flexibility in their work roles. Men flex their hours, work from home and even go part-time to keep their jobs and home lives running smoothly.
The discourse on flex typically focuses on women, specifically those with kids. But what about the rest of the equation? In a new report by the Working Mother Research institute (WMRI), men reveal that they too are working flexibly. What’s more, they’re using schedule flexibility in great numbers to make their family and work lives succeed, just as women do.
It’s no wonder. With the number of dual-income families rising nationwide, flex is the number one thing women want at work.
So what do the men have to say?
- 77% report having flexible work schedules.
- 79% feel comfortable using flex.
- 62% say their employers can and do encourage flex.
- 68% have the ability to influence their schedule and do so without fear of negative consequences.
- 47% have a formal flex arrangement with their employer.
But is flex as important to men as to women? The answer, according to How Men Flex: The Working Mother Report, is yes, especially among working dads—something that’s particularly important for employers and working moms to remember when recruiting additional allies in the fight for flex.
Most men surveyed said the optimal flex strategy features one to two days working from home each week. The men in the survey working this schedule are more likely to report feeling “in balance” (76%) versus men who never work from home (43%). By comparison, 64% of men who work from home three to four days a week say they feel “in balance,” while 66% of those who work remotely five days a week do. Notably, men who telecommute five days a week are the most stressed (even more than men with no flex at all), feeling that they can’t get away from work (58%), that their commitment to the job is questioned (60%) and that they are isolated (52%).
Men working from home one to two days a week are the most likely to report that they have a support network. Full-time telecommuters, however, are most likely to report feeling healthy, fulfilled and positive about the time spent with friends. They also feel that work fulfills a higher purpose than just making money.
As it does with women, flex pays continual dividends to men. Across 11 different categories of work satisfaction, men whose employers allow flex report feeling significantly more satisfied than those who say their employers could offer flex but don’t, WMRI found. The majority of men who flex say it improves their productivity (85%), morale (84%), loyalty (82%), relationships with co-workers (77%), team communications (81%) and overall job satisfaction (86%).
Meaningful part-time work also looms large in the imagination of working fathers. Nearly 6 in 10 men say they would work part-time if they could still enjoy a satisfying career. Much like women surveyed in previous WMRI studies, 33% of men say part-time work is looked down upon at their organizations. Still, the option works for many.