Work-Life Balance: It's Not Just About Women Anymore

"No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself." —Rabbi Sofer

When we hear the words "work-life balance" in the media, they're usually referring to a concern held by women, especially working mothers. But the idea that most telecommuters are women just isn't valid: in fact, men telecommute four times as much as women, according to the national survey by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit Inc.

Almost one-third of the 556 full-time employed adults surveyed said they work remotely, and nearly three out of four of those telecommuters were men.

This means that restricting the work-life balance discussion to only women is also doing a disservice to men, especially working fathers.

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 56% of working moms and 50% of working fathers say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family-life responsibilities.

Fathers’ time spent doing housework has more than doubled since 1965 (from about four hours a week to about 10 hours). Mothers’ time doing housework, meanwhile, has decreased from 32 hours per week to 18.

The roles of moms and dads in the U.S. are converging, with dads contributing more to housework and family activities, and moms working more outside the home.

The new reality of successful work-life balance is that a "one size fits all" approach just won't work for today's modern families. Some working moms (or dads) might need to work from home one day a week, while another needs a commitment not to check email on the weekend. When we can develop our own work-life balance solutions, we can identify and respect the boundaries required to make them effective, while carving out more hours to spend with our families.

Expanding the work-life balance conversation to include men and people without children can lead to workplace changes that will benefit more employees—a win-win for everyone. It can also help companies retain mothers and fathers who might otherwise opt out, either resigning or self-demoting, in order to dedicate more time to their families.

What's your take on the new paradigm of work-life balance? How do you make it work? Join the discussion in one of our private alumnae groups on LinkedIn or Facebook.


Posted on July 16, 2016 .