The findings of our Men Get Flexible! research reveal a significant number of men want greater access to flexible work, and this is especially the case for young fathers. As more men are now part of dual-earner families and are expected to be involved in parenting and family, we need to consider how we can support the contribution men and fathers make to individual, family and social well-being.
Organisations can play a key role – in addition to government, community and families themselves – in facilitating this through making flexible work and careers standard business practice rather than merely the domain of mothers with young children. They need to foster an organisational culture that is more supportive of flexible work for men, one that proactively encourages men to engage in flexible work.
Below’s what our new report recommends organisations can do to help.
- Flexibility reframed: Emphasise the business case for men to engage in flexible work and broaden the definition of flexibility to include full-time work self-managed flexibly, and formal, informal and dynamic flexible work.
- Diversity amongst men: Structure work in multiple ways to respond to the diversity amongst men in terms of age, cultural background, life-stage, nature of work, sexual orientation, work-life priorities and so on.
- Culture: Foster an organisational culture that is supportive of flexible work for men, proactively encouraging men to engage in flexible work and providing opportunities for men to share their experiences of flexible work.
- Leadership: Develop and publicise senior male role models of flexible work to break the perception that senior roles = no flexibility.
- New model of success: Address men’s reluctance to use flexible work for fear of career penalties by designing new roles with flexibility as standard, integrating flexibility into senior roles and illustrating ‘success stories’.
- Team-focus: Recognise that success in integrating flexible work hinges on the relationship between individuals and their teams, and build flexibility into standard team-based operating procedures.
- Fatherhood: Utilise fatherhood as an effective entry to integrate flexibility and reduce gender differences in accessing flexible work, and focus on a long-term approach beyond parental leave.
The Diversity Council of a Australia is a not-for-profit organisation. The full Get Flexible! Report is available to DCA members. Visit www.dca.org.au for more information.