09 Sep 2021

Why Work-Life Balance Is Important For Men

5 minutes read time.

Key Points

  • Men are just as worried about balancing work and family life as women.

  • Traditional roles can make men uncomfortable when trying to prioritise family life over their work.

  • There are so many benefits to men spending more time with their families. This includes a better relationship with their kids and more time for their health.

  • Speaking to your partner or friend can help them better manage their work life balance.

  • Learning to be flexible, bonding with the kids, and accepting that getting the balance is tough can make a world of difference.

People speak a lot about how difficult it can be for women to raise a family and work full time. And they’re right, it is bloody hard. For men, it’s often just as difficult though in very different ways.

Studies suggest that men find it as challenging as women when it comes to balancing work and family life, and 50% of fathers say it’s difficult for them. So it’s possible that men just aren’t talking about it, and we really think guys need to talk to each other more. If we’re not having the conversation, it’s no wonder that many men are at a loss with how to handle this tricky balancing act.

A dad holding and caring for his young son at a BBQ

The issues with traditional roles

As a society we’re still trying to unpack the traditional roles handed down to us by our fathers, which they got from their fathers, who got them from...well you get the idea. There can sometimes still be this notion that Dad should be the breadwinner — hard at work, only seeing his kids for a few minutes before bed. It’s pretty clear that this can put a lot of pressure on guys and often isn’t the type of life, or relationship with their kids, that men want.

And there are perceived disadvantages to prioritising family over work. For example, a lot of guys think that requesting flexible working hours so they can pick up kids from school will be met with resistance, or demonstrate that they’re not dedicated workers.

On top of all of that, there’s been a complete shake up in how everyone works — thanks, COVID-19.

This global shift towards working from home has meant that both men and women have had to blur the lines between work and home life. (Think streaking toddlers in the background of Zoom meetings.) While this can be a good thing in some ways, for example we enjoy less time commuting and more time with the kids, some find it difficult to separate work from home life. And then the opposite problem is true as well. For essential workers or those on the frontline, the pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to make time for family.

It all means that now more than ever we need to rethink how men balance work and their family life.

He's Juggling Work & Family
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He's Juggling Work & Family
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Men benefit from spending time at home

The idea that you have to spend most of your time at work to be productive is pretty out of date. Many workplaces are learning that people need time to rest and recharge so they can be more productive, switched on and efficient at their jobs.

And the benefits of spending time at home are huge.

More time with family

Men with kids benefit a lot from being at home more. And it's probably not surprising that so do their kids. Children who spend plenty of time with their dads are more likely to have healthy relationships and good overall health and wellbeing.

Being around for special family moments is what life is about. A recent study found that 61% of dads spent more time involved in their kids’ learning and schoolwork during COVID-19 lockdowns. And 34% reported spending more time having meaningful conversations. That sort of thing doesn’t happen when you’re in an office or behind a computer until 8pm.

More time for self-care

Less time spent at work means more time to engage in self-care activities like exercise, socialising with friends, enjoying hobbies, attending those medical appointments that always put off, and performing important grooming activities like maintaining the perfect Mo.

More time for their partner

Being more flexible with work allows a man’s other half to have more time to succeed themselves. By sharing the workload — both in the home and outside it — couples can help each other succeed and create healthier, happier families.

Group of men at a sporting field working on their work-life balance

We can (and should) challenge the norm

If your friend or partner feels burnt out and trapped in an endless cycle of working too much and being stressed out at home, ask them what they could do to (*gasp*) change things. Lots of workplaces are open to discussions about flexible arrangements — it’s just about getting out of that nine to five, Monday-Friday mindset and accepting that things can be done differently. Seriously. They can.

You could even offer some suggestions like:

  • Be creative with work hours
    Skip the morning coffee run or try time-blocking to get through tasks more quickly.
  • Point out when the status quo isn’t working
    Encourage them to be aware of when work and life are unbalanced. Know the signs and know that’s when things need to change.
  • Encourage them to talk to their partner
    Communicating with their partner about what is, and what isn’t, going well with their work life balance is crucial. Their partner may be able to help them in coming up with what works best for the man, their partner, and their family. Oh and a nice bonus? Improved work life balance will do wonders for a relationship.
  • Be THEIR OWN kind of dad
    If that’s the sort of dad that works part-time, or comes home early on Thursdays to take the kids to swim lessons then that’s awesome. Each to their own.
  • Learn to be flexible
    If they can’t wrangle part-time hours from work, perhaps they could work later some nights and finish earlier on others. Adding some fluidity to the workday can help dads be more involved in parenting and enjoy greater work-life balance.
  • Bond with children
    Actively spending time with the kids shouldn’t be “giving your partner a break” — it’s a rite of passage for dads. It’s a brilliant chance to enjoy these little people and do stuff together.
  • Take paternity leave/annual leave
    Often workplaces offer paternity leave and this can be incredibly helpful for new dads. But even for men past that stage, encouraging them to just take some annual leave for themselves (if possible) can do a world of good.
  • Accept that it’s tough
    Men often bottle up feelings and soldier on without stopping to think about it. Encourage your friend to have a good vent about how tough the juggle is. It is tough and it’s okay to talk about that.

If you know a man struggling with their work life balance, reach out to them. Remind them that everyone is trying to figure this out. Find ways to help them prioritise their family and their health. By checking in with each other and discussing these issues together, we can all create a world where men can work hard, stay healthy and enjoy time with their family.

If you know a man struggling with their work life balance, reach out to them. Remind them that everyone is trying to figure this out. Find ways to help them prioritise their family and their health. By checking in with each other and discussing these issues together, we can all create a world where men can work hard, stay healthy and enjoy time with their family.

I’m really falling behind with work. I’m not doing anything well right now.Sounds tough. Are there any changes you could make?

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