Thursday, 1 April 2010

Flexible working for fathers

Barack Obama spoke out yesterday about the need for flexible workplace options for both men and women (click here). In the UK, flexible work practices are widely lauded although its policy implementation is widely voluntaristic and individualised.

Mine and other research suggests that flexibility can enhance work-life balance for families (Dermott 2008: 6; Hill et al., 2001 cited in Vandeweyer and Glorieux 2008: 272; Lamb et al 1987: 115). However, much research also suggests that flexible working is not always a positive solution for workers (Moss 1995: xiv; Brandth and Kvande 2002; Christensen and Staines 1990 cited in Vandeweyer and Glorieux 2008: 272; Pollert 1988 cited in Crompton 2006: 5; Lamb et al 1987; O’Brien and Shemilt 2003).

While flexible options, particularly part-time working, are more frequently taken up by women, many fathers use some form of flexible working to help their family's work life balance. This is often through the use of either informal or formal flexi-time arrangements, or through home working.

What are your experiences? Do you work from home? Does your employer offer flexi-time solutions that suit your child care needs?

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