As working dads seek to spend more time with their children, they're facing a question already familiar to working mothers: how do you balance career progression with parenthood? As the debate about standard working hours for Hong Kong workers heats up, many fathers still feel they face a choice between active parenting and career success.
The solution is flexible working. In research for Regus, the world's leading provider of flexible workspaces, 58% of people globally said flexible working is more family-friendly. Giving employees some choice about where and when they work enables them to reduce their commuting, work at hours that fit with family life, and cut down on expensive paid childcare.
Earning vs caring?
There's plenty of evidence that fathers are changing their working lives to spend more time with their families. From stay-at-home dads to those who split the childcare, the stats show an upward trend:
· In the UK, up to 1.4 million men are children's main carers
· 43% of fathers of school-aged children provide care before/after school
· In the US, 32% of fathers with a working wife take care of children at least one day a week, compared to 26% in 2002
· The number of stay-at-home dads in the US has doubled in the last decade.
Even in Japan, where the long-hours culture means that over half of Tokyo dads spend less than two hours a day with their children in the week, they compensate at weekends, with over half spending ten hours or more a day with their children.
Fathers' growing desire for family-friendly working practices is a trend that businesses would be short-sighted to ignore.
Flexibility and productivity
The good news is that offering employees flexibility over the times and places they work is not an act of business altruism. In research for Regus, 72% of companies say their productivity has increased as a result of flexible working practices, and 68% link flexible working directly to increased revenues.
The shift to new ways of working has been made possible by technology. Work can now be done from anywhere, with performance judged by results, not presence at the office. Businesses all over the world are looking at new working practices, such as:
· Letting employees fit their location to their activities – working sometimes in the office, sometimes at drop-in 'third spaces' like business centres, which offer all the facilities of the office at more convenient locations
· Virtual offices services, which allow, for example, the self-employed and SME-employed to work from home, but to present a strong corporate image with professional office address and telephone answering, and access to meeting rooms.
The greater availability of flexible working practices appears to be much appreciated. The recent Regus Work-Life Balance Index shows that, despite working harder than they did two years ago, people are enjoying their jobs more and feel they are more productive than two years ago. Four out of ten people worldwide say their companies are trying to reduce the time that staff spend commuting, aware of the heavy toll that long commutes take on family life and staff morale and output.
The new business essential
"Flexible working practices are rapidly evolving from nice option to office essential," said Hans Leijten, Regus' vice president, East Asia."They boost productivity and morale, retain talent, and offer employers access to a huge pool of professionals who don't want the traditional, long-hours, commuting life, where they scarcely see their family. Conversely, businesses that don't offer more flexibility to their staff risk losing productivity, revenues and talent, so it's advisable for employers to look holistically at flexible working, and the options and support available."
- Ends -
Regus is the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world's largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it's from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join hundreds of thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core activities.
Over 1,000,000 customers a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of 1,200 locations in 550 cities and 95 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Regus was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information please visit: www.regus.com
Adam Barty / Ivy Chow at EBA Communications
Phone: (+852) 2537 8022
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
“Breadwinning wives lead to more househusbands”, Telegraph, 25 January 2012; ”Working Better: fathers, family and work contemporary perspectives. Research summary 41” Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2009; “Stay-at-home dads: More choosing kids over career”, CNN Money, 30 April 2012; “Stay-at-home dads increase”, ABC News, 13 December 2011.