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Dads who spend more time with their kids are happier at work, according to a new study published in the journal the Academy of Management Perspectives. “More involved fathers experience greater job satisfaction and work-family enrichment, and less work-family conflict; and they are less likely to think about quitting their jobs,” write the study’s authors.
The study surveyed 970 working fathers, who generally worked 46 hours a week and made an average salary of $80,000 a year. The fathers, 62% of whom had working wives, spent an average of 2.65 hours with their kids during a typical weekday.
Working mothers often complain that juggling work and family is a constant source of stress, but according to the study, men “do not seem to experience threat to their work identities in the same way women do as mothers. … Perhaps men don’t experience the same level of guilt that working mothers feel and don’t view caring for children as a source of stress.”
John Pacini, co-founder of the Dad 2.0 summit, says that fathers do feel the work-life struggle, but in a different way. “For years, men disproportionately succumbed to the work end of the work-life spectrum due to cultural norms and workplace expectations. Policies just didn’t encourage them to stand up for their need for family time and make that happen,” he tells Yahoo Parenting. “Today’s dads are standing up for their paternity roles and rights in the workplace, and that stance is being solidly supported by society and by more and more businesses.” The dads who work at those supportive jobs feel more loyal to their current gigs, he says.
Which is why companies who want to retain top employees would do well to take note of the findings and reject the old-fashioned notion that the ideal male employee prioritizes work over family, the study authors say in a press release.
Jamie J. Ladge, PhD., an assistant professor of management and organizational development at Northeastern University added, “Within companies there is pressure toward traditional understandings of fatherhood, which conflict with men’s desire to be more involved at home than male breadwinners have been in the past. Instead of promoting ideals based on outdated gender norms, firms need to recognize fatherhood as a serious and time-consuming activity, both through formal flex programs and through encouraging supervisors to support fathers in fulfilling family commitments. This is especially so in view of the enhanced job satisfaction and company loyalty that our study suggests is fostered by involved fathering.”
The bottom line is, mothers and fathers aren’t all that different. We all just want one thing: balance.