This is what men can learn from female managers
13 February 2018 -
As the ‘always on’ working culture intensifies, men can improve their work-life balance by learning from female bosses, who have juggled successful careers and a family life for decades
It is increasingly difficult to ‘have it all’ – a progressive career and fulfilling personal life. Long office hours, inflexible schedules and constant access to work communications have led to the average UK manager working an extra 7.5 hours beyond their contracted weekly hours, equivalent to an extra 43.8 days over the course of a year, CMI research reveals.
However, male managers could learn from female ones, when it comes to work/life balance. According to research, women are more likely than men to take advantage of laws allowing employees to request a change to scheduled working hours.
FEMALE MANAGERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO ASK FOR FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS
Timewise, a recruitment agency for jobs with flexible working hours surveyed 3,000 UK adults on the importance of flexible working and how it’s executed in practice. It found that 84% of men survey work flexibly (or would like to) compared to 91% of women.
THE ‘MUM’ MYTH
Crucially, the reasons cited by women for wanting to work flexible hours did not necessarily concern motherhood and childcare. The main reasons given included regaining control over work/life balance, reducing a commute and allowing more time for leisure and study.
FEMALE MANAGERS MULTI-TASK
Why? The difference in stats could be due to the difference in thinking.
By analysing a series of qualitative interviews, writer Austin Kleon found men took work/life balance for granted, while women often claimed not to believe it exists.
Surveying the work habits of numerous successful female artists, Kleon found they would describe situations where they worked with the children in the room (outside of necessity). Meanwhile successful male artists explained they often separated themselves from their life before beginning their artistic work: they focused on being in ‘work mode’ with associated rituals such as dressing smartly before starting their tasks.
THE MILLENNIAL MINDSET
Millennials are leading the way when it comes to flexible working: 73% of 18-34-year-olds that work full-time do so on a flexible basis. This means they took advantage of opportunities to work from home, or vary their shift hours. However, the law about flexible working applies to a wide range of employees.
THE LAW ABOUT FLEXIBLE WORKING
All employees who have undertaken more than 26 weeks service can currently request the right to flexible working under the Equality Act 2010. They must submit requests to managers in writing and comment on how they think this will impact the business. Employees can make one application every 12 months. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission flexible working could be the key to bridging the diversity gap.
IS FLEXIBLE WORKING RIGHT FOR MANAGERS?
What are the drawbacks? Currently less that one in ten jobs paid more than £20,000 per year is advertised as a flexible working opportunity. In our recent piece on unconventional wisdom from business leaders, Moya Green – CEO of Royal Mail – also spoke out against the way in which flexible working impacts on responsibility. She said: “You cannot expect to be the chief financial officer at a big company or head of the legal department if you’re working on flexitime.”
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