An increased interest in the concept of the modern man is resulting in a decline in blokey banter in the work places of the United Kingdom.
Driven by men
The change in attitude and behaviour is being driven by men rather than the imposition of new rules by their employers.
Only a third (35%) of the men questioned described their workplaces as having a formal strategy of inclusiveness. The more likely reason for the change in work place behaviour is that the role men play at home and in society is changing and there is greater understanding of issues like a man’s role in parenting and men’s mental health.
Men becoming the carer but still the provider
Seven in ten men (71%) feel they need to be the main provider for their family.
Nearly half (46%) of men also believe it’s also their responsibility to be primary carer to their children.
A new study reveals that whilst overly masculine behaviours in workplaces are on the way out, there is still a lot to be done by employers in supporting the needs of modern men who want to shoulder responsibilities for childcare as well as be the main provider for their family.
Expectations of self changing
Research by culture change business Utopia and The Hobbs Consultancy found that men’s expectations of themselves have shifted.
Seven in ten (71%) men report they still feel the need to be the main financial provider for their family, yet almost half – 46% – claim that it’s now also their responsibility to be the primary carer to their children.
And yet, only a third of men (35%) say their workplace has a formal strategy of inclusiveness in place that helps ensure an understanding that work can have an impact from parental pressures to mental health or sickness.
Whilst progressive parenting and equality is a key step in modern relationships, workplaces are falling behind when it comes to modernising and supporting men in being all round providers to their families.
Mixed levels of support
From flexible working hours and working from home to last minute childcare, parenting comes with challenges made easier with an accommodating employer. Research found one in five men (21%) say their employers actively discourage them from taking on parenting duties that may affect their work and a mere 11% report their boss is comfortable with them taking unexpected days off due to child sickness showing a distinct lack of flexibility and support.
Furthermore, both men and women face challenges in flexibility to work from home when needed with 28% of all workers claiming their employer actively discourages them from working from home.
Employers must catch-up
Despite the change in attitudes and aspirations amongst men, employers of all types still seem to view male workers in terms of typical and traditional traits of a masculine culture – often associated around behaviours and personality traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness.
As a result employers are not providing the sort of support and flexibility for men that would enable them to share in childcare responsibilities and parental leave.
Male workers need to make an effort to explain their lives and priorities away from work is an issue employers need to address.
Inclusive focus needed
The recent focus of inclusion initiatives for many employers has been on adapting cultures and ways of working to enable women to fit their traditional mother and caring roles into a male orientated work environment.
This research suggests that attitudes and behaviours amongst male workers are not stuck in the mud of traditional roles but are shifting just as the attitudes of women have been changing.
Daniele Fiandaca, Co-founder of culture change business Utopia, explained that although blokey banter as an indicator of a traditional male orientated culture may be in decline, but organisational focus on traditional masculine traits is still hindering modern businesses in their attempts to create truly more inclusive workplaces which work for all genders.
Male work life balance is re-balancing
Roxanne Hobbs, Founder at The Hobbs Consultancy, explained that an inclusive culture should enable everyone to be their authentic selves at work. But the evidence from the research shows that men are feeling they can’t balance their careers with their families is worrying.
The world is changed via conversation, and until the conversation about men and family happens, men will continue to be dragged down by a system that’s inclusive in name only.
Men need to start having those conversations with their employers, explaining that although their work requires them to lead their life away from work requires them to also be courageous vulnerable, care-giver, who is capable of demonstrating empathy, and has balanced mental health.
Part of this conversation has to re-balance the focus of employers on female inclusion to a focus that includes men and making masculinity part of that discussion.