Equality and Human Rights Commission promotes flexible working to dads and employers

This International Men’s Day, I’m doing something a bit special. You may find me gracing your small screen at some point as I feature in a video recorded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to encourage men to consider flexible working.

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A still image from the video Helen, Izzy and I appeared in to promote the benefits of flexible working.

Here’s the background. A couple of weeks ago, I spent an afternoon with a film crew who were shooting a videos with several dads on behalf of the Equality and  Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The series has two aims:

1) To encourage more men to either explore ways to work flexibly or ask their employer if they can work flexibly and

2) Promote the benefits of flexible working to employers.

To watch the video, simply click on the image below.

It is, sadly, a harsh fact that a man’s request to work flexibly is twice as likely to be turned down as a woman’s. It’s also true that men are sometimes reluctant to ask if they can work flexibly, despite the fact it is a legal right open to all employees regardless of gender.

In the video, I talk about the benefits of working for myself. I explain how I have been running my blogging and freelance writing business since both my children started school a year ago (to be clear, there has always been a commercial aspect to what I do, but over the past year this has become a bigger aspect of my blogging work).

I go on to say that working this way allows me to dedicate time to my children while earning money and contributing financially to the family. This also benefits my wife. As I am home-based, she is able to leave the house in the morning knowing I am on hand to take care of the school runs and any unexpected domestic issues that may crop up.

Although all the dads in the video have different backgrounds and circumstances, we all say very similar things. By working flexibly we are all very involved with our children’s lives; helping with homework, organising after school activities, overseeing play dates and occasionally volunteering at their schools etc.

Very few fathers are able to dedicate so much time to their children although with a little flexible working, many probably could.

It was also a poignant interview for me personally to give on film. For some years I thought of myself as a stay at home dad. There’s no question that I am still the at home parent in our relationship and my wife is the main financial provider. Even so, with both children having been in the school system for the past year, I have spent increasing amounts of time building up my blogging and freelance activities.

The timing of the video is great for another reason. I recently ran a series on my blog focusing on dads who had set up their own businesses because they couldn’t get the flexibility they need in the workplace. This is a more common issue than you might imagine and I encourage you to read Alex Hirts’s story of how burn out persuaded him there was a better way to work, how working for his own PR company enables Martin Williams to balance work and family life and how my friend Tom Briggs supports a family of five by blogging.

I must also stress it is not just fathers who need flexible working. There are men and women with all manner of caring responsibilities who would benefit from having greater flexibility in the workplace.

I simply hope that men who need a better work life balance will watch the videos and be inspired to find a flexible solution to the issues they face. This won’t only benefit them, but their wives, partners and children.

 

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6 Comments

  1. November 19, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    Inspiring stuff. There is no doubt that stepping away from full-time freelancing to set up my own business while taking over some of the childcare has really boosted our family life. Full disclosure: I still need to increase the money my website makes in order to make our current situation the best it could be, but that’s a challenge I am really looking forward to facing safe in the knowledge that I’m doing is benefitting my son’s early years.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 23, 2018 / 6:21 am

      Haha, Stuart, we could all do with making more money! More men should step away from full time work and do what we do. It would make the world a more equitable place.

  2. November 20, 2018 / 9:15 am

    Good work John and thanks for the mention! Yes, more needs to be done to help dads achieve flexible working arrangements, so I hope this campaign is successful. Both in terms of making more dads aware of their rights and also to remind employers that it’s their duty to at least consider such requests.

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 23, 2018 / 6:20 am

      Absolutely Tom. It’s a cliche, but it is chicken and egg. Men must start asking for flexible working to make employers seriously realise this is what men want and need. I hope the video has some impact.

  3. November 20, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    A great message John, it’s so important to Tom and I the boys remember us both being involved in the day-to-day routine. Bravo x

    • John Adams
      Author
      November 23, 2018 / 6:19 am

      Very kind of you to say so Jamie. I was over the moon to feature in this video, it was such a positive project to be a part of.