Making the workplace work for millennial fathers

Millennial's, also known as Generation Y, are known for having an impact on workplace culture—especially when it comes to matters of well-being. This demographic group (born between 1979 and 1994) are set to account for 75% of the workforce by 2025. Thus, companies should consider paying closer attention to what the fathers of this generation are asking for from their workplace experience.

 

87% of “Gen Y” men have been noted for wanting to spend more time with their children than the previous generations have. But this year a survey of over 2000 fathers (in association with research conducted by Deloitte) shows that the realities of life at work as a new dad are difficult in striking the right work/life balance. The survey revealed that 63% of fathers have asked for more flexible working conditions after becoming a dad, but nearly 44% have been denied this request.

 

So, what can businesses do to create more flexible working environments for fathers seeking a better work-life balance?

 

Paternity leave and flexible working

Nearly half of the fathers that were surveyed said that improving paternity leave is vital. Therefore, if more workers are seeking paternity leave, then an FM can actively advocate this upwards to get the senior management on-board. And should paternity leave not be an option straightaway, then allowing for flexible working can be a sensible solution— whilst ensuring that workers have the necessary resources to work from home (e.g. remote access software). So, even if an on-site building manager may not be able to affect a firm´s paternity leave legislation, she/he can positively affect the company´s policy through the implementation of flexible working arrangements.

 

Remote access software

Remote access software permits for the accessibility to work systems and tools— such as work schedules/calendars, documents, projects, etc. —all of which can seamlessly be viewed, shared and managed remotely. And this can be a simple solution if an employee wishes to spend more time at home with his children. Additionally, the physical absence of such an employee would not be felt as an inconvenience to other colleagues, as he would be able to perform and contribute with all of his work tasks directly from home.

 

Onsite baby-care

Some big investment banks already provide onsite day-care facilities, thereby enabling parents to bring their children to and from work with them without incurring the extra time and stress created by having to commute to daycare centers (which can often induce additional stress and feelings of guilt due to having to arrive to work later and/or to having to leave earlier).

For example, investment bank Goldman Sachs has rolled out on-site nurseries (i.e. day-cares for babies and young children) within their offices in both Tokyo and New York. And where the bank has not been able to provide an on-site nurseries, they find local nurseries that they can subsidise for their employees.

 

Mental health support

Lastly, Deloitte´s research revealed that men reported that having to try to juggle both work and home commitments proved to have significant negative effects on their mental health. Over 65% stated feeling guilty about failing to find the right work/life balance. Furthermore, the report found that most men said their workplaces understood that new dads have a difficult time balancing work and home life, but unfortunately very few workplaces acted upon this knowledge.

In cases such as this, having a good mental health policy in place can help in providing fathers with the explicit reassurance that their needs will be heard and met—all of which will only positively contribute to and promote an attractive workplace.