How Work-Life Balance Has Become the Holy Grail for Men and Women
BP CEO Tony Hayward tarnished the male side of the work-life debate last year when he whined to reporters during the Gulf oil spill, "I want my life back." But he raised a valid point, a new study shows; men are as concerned as women about achieving work-life balance.
The findings of the "Global Study on Men and Work-Life Integration," conflicts with the widely held assumption that male identity is rooted in work while women place a higher priority on personal and family life .
The study, conducted by the WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress, was an attempt to understand how organizations can remove the stereotypes and barriers that prevent men from utilizing work-life offerings, as well as what prevents leaders and managers from supporting the use of work-life options.
Financial stress is the top issue for both, the study found, but finding time for family is especially challenging for men.
And while business leaders around the world have bought into the business case for work-life effectiveness and have programs and policies in place, these programs are often ineffective because managers still cling to the notion that the ideal worker is one with few personal commitments.
The study also found that even executives who say they are committed to work-life integration often believe the risks of implementing such programs outweigh the benefits. When companies do put such programs in place, both men and women report penalties for taking advantage of work-life benefits.
"Working men and women around the world seek the same holy grail : success in both their work and family lives," Kathie Lingle, executive director of WorldatWork's Alliance for Work-Life Progress, said in a statement. "The assumption that male identity is rooted in work and not family is a major impediment to the effective integration of employees' work and family lives."
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Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.