Over the course of the last few decades, our society has witnessed dramatic leaps and bounds in regards to women in the workplace. It is no longer a unique or uncommon occurrence for mothers to hold down full-time occupations in the field of their choice, as a culture that once sought to limit their sphere of influence to domestic spaces evolves to more wholeheartedly support women’s professional aspirations. However, it remains far from easy to “have it all.” An enormous body of literature covering the challenges of reaching your highest potential both at work and at home already exists. In fact, this sort of research is only growing when it comes to that specific half of the household. When it comes to men though, the available insight becomes much murkier.
At the same time that women have been making some serious strides in their places of employment, the other side of the equation has also shifted. Men are increasingly vocalizing a serious desire serve as more than just a breadwinner – fathers want to be present in their children’s live as well. Now that dual-income families are comfortably in the mainstream, it is only natural for caregiving responsibilities and opportunities to split more evenly. This parallels the more and more equal breakdown of moneymaking duties. A recent report found that today’s dads already spend as much as three times more time with their offspring than dads did in the 1960s.
In response to this reality, more employers are adapting and expanding policies that support things like paternal leave. Both genders should be fairly encouraged to do well both at work and as heads of their family. This charge has been led by certain industry leaders, such as Netflix (who recently announced an unlimited paid leave policy for both men and women). Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are also leading the way with exceedingly generous frameworks for parenthood in place relative to what is usually found in corporate scenarios.
However, the real obstacle now is tweaking mindsets so that workers are confident in actually taking advantage of these new policies. Research indicates that both men and women have trouble believing that extended family leave does not seriously impact their position or status at work in a negative fashion. It will take time to hit a critical mass of people who not only display a clear preference for employers who offer these policies, but also use them. Until then, efficiency is key. Give employees the flexibility and autonomy they need to strike the perfect balance in their lives. When one is thriving in one aspect of life, the other is likely to blossom into greater success as well.