Old-school workplace attitudes have given parents little to no leeway in lockdown, despite a swell in public support for UK mums and dads, according to new research.
The Masculinity in the Workplace study, conducted by culture change business Utopia and inclusion consultancy The Hobbs Consultancy, found that nearly two thirds (63%) of workers with kids feel the pressure to maintain their ‘parent’ role on the job, while more than a third (36%) claim there’s little to no support from their employer.
The study paints a stark portrait of the work-from-home set-up, with three in ten (31%) workers saying there’s limited or zero support in place when they're interrupted by their children.
Working mums have spent a staggering thirteen hours more per week with their kids during lockdown, while fathers spend six more hours, according to the research. Male respondents feel the strain the most, in particular young dads: those who’ve traditionally played a less central role when it comes to parenting, and are now getting a full-on taste of what it entails.
Moreover, two fifths (41%) of workers believe keeping work and family exclusive is the key to success, with half (51%) of young men agreeing. This compounds the pressure, with half (50%) of young dads feeling there is no or limited support for parenting duties that impact their time at work, and 46% saying the same for kids interrupting work.
Nadya Powell, co-founder at Utopia, said: “Anecdotal evidence in lockdown three reinforces what our survey, which was carried out after second lockdown, found - there’s still work to be done if we’re to maintain a workforce that isn’t burnt out by the pressures of juggling the ‘parent’ and ‘employee’ roles without adequate employer support.”
Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder at Utopia, added: “Workers believe the most-lauded leadership behaviours within their organisations are inherently masculine, those traits being confidence and assertion (43%), action-orientated and results-focused (39%), and ambition and competitiveness (29%). It’s time to shift from these outdated, masculine working cultures to more empathetic and open ones. Not just for young dads, or young mums, or carers, or older parents - for everyone. Lockdown delivered a huge blow to professional culture across the globe, and leaders need to act now to address it.”