A new study reveals that whilst overly masculine behaviours in workplaces are on the way out, there is still a lot to be done by employers in supporting the needs of modern men who want to shoulder responsibilities for childcare as well as be the main provider for their family.
Research by culture change business Utopia, and The Hobbs Consultancy, found men’s expectations of themselves have shifted. Seven in ten (71%) men report they still feel the need to be the main financial provider for their family, yet almost half – 46% – claim that it’s now also their responsibility to be the primary carer to their children.
And yet, only a third of men (35%) say their workplace has a formal strategy of inclusiveness in place that helps ensure an understanding that work can have an impact from parental pressures to mental health or sickness.
Whilst progressive parenting and equality is a key step in modern relationships, workplaces are falling behind when it comes to modernising and supporting men in being all round providers to their families.
From flexible working hours and working from home to last minute childcare, parenting comes with challenges made easier with an accommodating employer. Research found one in five men (21%) say their employers actively discourage them from taking on parenting duties that may affect their work and a mere 11% report their boss is comfortable with them taking unexpected days off due to child sickness showing a distinct lack of flexibility and support.
Furthermore, both men and women face challenges in flexibility to work from home when needed with 28% of all workers claiming their employer actively discourages them from working from home.
Whilst not a typical trait of a masculine culture – often associated around behaviours and personality traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness – the lack of support and flexibility for men in sharing childcare responsibilities and parental leave is an issue that employers need to address.
Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder of culture change business Utopia, says:
“Recent focus has been on the changes that women need to make to fit into a masculine workplace, when we should be focusing on creating more inclusive workplaces which work for all genders. Blokey banter might be dying out, but traditional masculine traits are still hindering modern businesses, and this research shows why we need to continue to work to build workplace cultures that are more effective and more inclusive for everyone.”
Roxanne Hobbs, founder at The Hobbs Consultancy, adds:
“It’s integral that everyone is able to be their authentic selves at work. The fact that men now feel they can’t balance their careers with their families is worrying – the world is changed via conversation, and until the conversation about men and family happens, men will continue to be dragged down by a system that’s inclusive in name only.
“We want to create a culture in which being a male leader is synonymous with courageous vulnerability, caregiving, empathy and balanced mental health. We simply cannot talk about creating a difference with gender in the workplace without including men and making masculinity part of that discussion.”