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How to be a ‘working’ dad

For many years, the gender shift has taken traditional male/female roles and flipped them on their heads.  Women, of course, are at work and have been ‘doing it all’ for a while now.  Meanwhile, men are increasingly taking on more responsibilities at home as well as maintaining their professional lives – and they aren’t skimping on either job.In response, employers need to step up to meet the needs of the ‘new dad’, as seen in the results of a recent poll conducted by Workpolis.com, the online job search engine, in their annual 2010 Workopolis Dads in the Workplace Poll. The poll determined that over 70% of dads “feel guilty when work commitments take precedence over family time. And if given the choice, more than half (56 per cent) would take a 10 per cent pay cut to spend 10 per cent extra time at home with their kids.”Mario Bottone, Vice President at Workopolis and dad to two girls, is just one of the many dads who are feeling the stress that has been traditionally associated with working moms.“I can personally attest that being a working dad is the toughest, but most rewarding, position I have listed on my resume,” says Bottone. “[But] long hours at the office may mean that I’m missing out on important family moments like ballet recitals, soccer games and barbeques.” As such, Bottone stresses that employers need to be aware of the challenges facing working dads and should put policies in place that enable working dads to be successful both on the job and at home.For example, Bottone says that “offering flexible working hours, on-site daycare or other family-friendly options can drastically improve a working dad’s ability to manage both work and home life and be just as important, or even more so than money.”  “The title of World’s Best Dad is just as important as any title on a business card,” says Bottone and suggests that dads, too, can meet the needs of their jobs and families with just a few changes.Workopolis’ Top Tips for dads trying to balance it all

  • Quit multi-tasking – When you’re at home spending time with your family, turn off your cell phone, step away from the emails and give them your undivided attention. If you have to bring work home, do it after the kids have gone to bed.
  • Schedule meetings with your family – You schedule meetings with your colleagues at work, so try doing the same thing with your kids. Agree on a time that suits you both where you can head to the park or to the movies…and don’t be late. Using one calendar for family and work events will ensure you never double-book yourself.
  • Work on effective communication – Keep your family up to speed with what’s happening at work and be transparent about explaining to them why you sometimes have to stay late. And make sure to keep in touch when travelling for business.
  • Take the time to enjoy the little moments with your children.

Mario with wife Lucy, and daughters Julia and Emily.More Interesting Facts from the 2010 Workopolis Dads in the Workplace Poll

  • Half (49 per cent) of working dads would consider making a job change if a potential employer offered more family-friendly options than their current employer.
  • Three quarters of working Canadians (75 per cent) indicated that their employers are equally accommodating to the parenting demands of their male and female employees.
  • When asked which parent should reduce their work hours in favour of more time with the kids, most respondents (68 per cent) said it should be the parent with the lower income. Remaining respondents were much more likely to say that mothers should reduce their work time (20 per cent), not fathers (2 per cent).
  • Younger respondents aged 18-34 were more likely to say that the parent with the lower income should reduce their hours (77 per cent vs. 68 per cent), while respondents aged 65 and older were more likely to say mothers should reduce hours (26 per cent vs. 20 per cent).

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