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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Dads Struggle to Find Work-Life Balance

Dad holding happy baby Credit: Dad with baby image via Shutterstock

Work appears to be taking its toll on the relationship between dads and their families, a new study finds.

CareerBuilder’s annual Father’s Day survey found that 22 percent of fathers say their work has negatively affected relationships with their children, while 26 percent believe their job has hurt relationships with significant others.

The survey reveals the immediate struggle to achieve a work-life balance dads face once their kids are born. Two-in-five working dads who had a child in the last three years didn’t take any paternity leave, while nearly 60 percent took a week or less.

The study also found that for 47 percent of working dads who took some time off felt pressured by work to return early.

The stress of prolonged economic uncertainty appears to have affected more working fathers' balance between professional and family life. More than a third of the working dads surveyed bring work home from the office, up from 27 percent in 2008.

While working dads want to spend more time with their families, the study found the number of dads willing to take a pay cut to do so dropped since the recession.

"For many households, the recession has affected family life as much as personal finances,” said Alex Green, general counsel for CareerBuilder. "Many families need dual incomes, and post-recession work environments often entail longer hours."

[7 Ways to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance]

To help achieve a better work-life balance, Green recommends:

  • Talk About It: Besides just listening to what is going on in your family's lives, talk about what is going on in your office, so everyone understands why you are away or have to do work when you are home.
  • Scheduling: Add every family member's schedule to one master calendar so there are no surprises. Also, save vacation days for important events.
  • Establish a "No Work" Zone:Put down the smartphone and avoid checking emails from the time you arrive home until after your children have gone to sleep.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements:More companies are offering telecommuting options, flexible hours, condensed workweeks and other arrangements. Approach your boss with a game plan of how the arrangement would work and how it can benefit the organization.
  • Say No: Determine what additional work activities you can turn down and which are necessary so you can free up more of your time outside the office.

The study was based on surveys of more than 700 working dads with kids 18 or under living at home.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.