Media and Communications Manager
Employers are being urged to recognise the importance of their flexible work, as new research shows that men feel judged, less supported and less engaged when working flexible hours.
The startling difference between women and men’s experiences when working flexibly was uncovered in a report released today by Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women.
Male employees told researchers they did not feel supported by senior staff, and that their peers and management looked negatively at flexible working arrangements.
One man told researchers that while the flexible arrangements worked, he felt judged for using them.“While opportunities exist, the environment that management creates makes it difficult to participate,” another man told the researchers.
The report found that men working flexibly were six times less likely to feel engaged with their company than other male employees.
By contrast, women who worked flexible hours were more satisfied with their employers than other female workers, and were equally, if not more, committed to their careers.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency Director Libby Lyons said the research showed businesses needed to recognise the value of flexible working for both women and men.
“Men are newer to the whole concept of flexible work and are coming up against workplace norms that expect them to be in the office for long periods of time,” she said.
Ms Lyons said that negative attitudes would take time, commitment and support from employers to shift.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) data shows that over 60% of Australian employers with more than 100 employees have a flexible working arrangements policy or strategy.
To help employers implement flexible working programs in their workplace the WGEA is developing a ‘business case for flexibility’ toolkit.
Over the last year the Agency has also been highlighting the stories of men who work flexible hours with the Equilibrium Challenge.
As part of the challenge, five senior male employees at Telstra, Mirvac and Corrs Chambers Westgarth with family, sporting and other commitments entered flexible working arrangements.
To view their journey into the world of flexible working visit equilibriumchallenge.com.au.
To read the full report on flexible working, click here; The Power of Flexibility.