John Rogerson (34) lives with his partner Rebecca in London. They have two boys, Noah and Zachary aged 2 and 5. John is a business director and Rebecca works as a freelance performer, events organiser and teacher. Both work full time.
Job flexibility is key
I chose this job because I was looking for flexibility and it wasn’t possible in my previous role. From the very start of working for my current employer, working flexibly was a key requirement. It was the whole reason why I moved and set up there.
I started a project / department from scratch and built a team so I was left in charge of my own work. As long as I get the results we all need, then where I am doing it from is not important. To this day I can (to a certain point) choose if I arrive a bit later or leave a bit earlier or have a day working from home or a random holiday day where I need it.
A typical day
On a typical day, I take the kids to school in the morning as my wife works late hours. I then head straight to work for about 9:30 ish. I work straight through and leave at 5:30 to be home for 6 for my wife to leave for her work. On days she doesn’t need to go anywhere I tend to use the evening to host clients and go to work events.
If I need to help cover my wife’s work, I can leave work early to get the kids from school. During school holidays I’ll take some holidays myself and/ or work some days at home.
What needs to change for dads as a whole
I think we need a change in attitude around flexibility and parenting. I’d like people to remember that having children isn’t a ‘pain’ or a hindrance, it’s a human right and a privilege so it should be supported and encouraged by allowing flexibility and releasing stress that a parent will feel by being under pressure from their employers and work mates to be able to compete with other employees who don’t have young children.
As long as someone can still do their job, the hours should become as flexible as possible. Giving this will hopefully make employees want to work harder when they are at work and will be less stressed and therefore work more effectively. This could also avoid needing maternity / paternity cover so much.
The role of Government
Personally, I would like to see the Government enforce a certain amount of flexibility that an employee has to offer up, much like maternity/ paternity leave. There could be other options out in place to support parents throughout the child’s life too such as the option to take a certain amount of flexible hours. Reduction of hours should of course, within reason come with a reduction on pay, but it can be done in a way that allows a parent to keep their job and do it well, without having to take full maternity or paternity leave for a large chunk of time.
Remote working needs to be more acceptable – there is still a clock watching culture in many organisations. If a computer and phone is provided, then many people can work from home in the same way they would at the office. Hours can be logged with a work programme that’s logged in to from home, meetings can be joined by conference call or Skype and employees can make provisions to check in with them and make sure the work is getting done as they’d planned.
Surely having people who know their job continue 80% of their work is better than having a new employee cover for a few months then leave again. It costs more money and is less productive.
Embracing modern day attitudes
I believe it’s all about the attitude of the workplace and not having other employees’ attitudes make a new parent feel the pressure to be keeping up with everyone else. Employees will only do this if the Government support it in the way they do physical fitness, healthy eating, mental health and things like breast feeding and and stop smoking campaigns.