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5 Tips For Overworked Fathers to Better Balance Work and Family Life — Just in Time for Father’s Day

A father working on his laptop while at home with his kids

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and while it’s a great excuse to spoil dads everywhere with the latest gadgets, grill supplies, or bacon of the month club memberships, a little extra quality time with Dad might be in order this year, in light of results from CareerBuilder’s annual Father’s Day survey.

Survey results among 800 working fathers who are employed full-time showed that a still-struggling economy is causing many working dads to experience more stress, more work — and, not surprisingly, less time spent with their families.

Why the stress?

  • One in ten working dads said their spouse or significant other has become unemployed in the last 12 months, with 50 percent of those dads indicating it’s causing stress at home.
  • Forty-two percent of working dads said they are the sole providers in their household
  • Nine percent of working fathers say they have taken on a second job in the last 12 months to provide for their family.

Office overtime on overdrive

As many of you know firsthand, leaner staffs have led to fewer people handling a higher volume of work. This has made it more difficult for working fathers to achieve a healthy work/life balance, as many are stuck at the office working longer hours — and less time with their kids.

But just how many hours?

  • Sixty-three percent of working dads said they work more than 40 hours per week.
  • Three in ten (31 percent) working dads who take work home reported they typically bring work home five days a week or more.
  • Thirty percent bring work home on the weekends.

And how much less time with their kids?

  • Close to four in ten (37 percent) of working dads said they spend two hours or less with their children each work day.
  • More than three in ten (35 percent) reported they missed two or more significant events in their child’s life due to work in the last year.

How to be a better juggler

These are bleak statistics, but as Mary Delaney, one of CareerBuilder’s own busy working mothers, has said, there are things you can do to better balance work and family. and now, Jason Ferrara, VP Corporate Marketing at CareerBuilder and a father of two, shares his tips for working dads everywhere to better manage the delicate balancing act of providing for one’s family — and being there as a partner and a father.

“Especially in tough times, working dads have to be more creative and strategic to successfully juggle both work and family commitments,” said Jason Ferrara, VP Corporate Marketing at CareerBuilder and father of two.  “Employers understand the importance of working dads’ time away from the office and continue to place an emphasis on work/life balance through benefits that encourage employees to better manage their schedules. However, year over year, we find that nearly half of working dads do not take advantage of the flexible work arrangements offered to them.”

I’m not suggesting getting Dad a juggling set for Father’s Day (though I’m not not suggesting it, either), but the following tips are designed to help working Dads more effectively juggle their professional and personal lives. After all, although our multitudes of work and life commitments won’t necessarily go away, learning to prioritize them is a strong start.

Ferrara recommends the following tips for working dads navigating through difficult economic times:

  1. Keep everyone in the mix. Remember that communication is a two-way street.  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 some work when you are home.
  2. Learn to say no. In addition to actual work, sometimes activities associated with your job can take a toll on your free time. Determine what additional activities you can turn down and which are necessary so that you can free up more of your time outside of the office.
  3. Develop a master family calendar. Add every family member’s schedule to one master calendar so there are no surprises.  Also, save vacation days for important events and talk to your supervisor about flexible work arrangements.
  4. Play now, work later. Put down your Blackberry and avoid checking e-mails until after your children have gone to sleep.
  5. Plan a family event in your office. Take advantage of the summer months when school is out and the office may be less hectic by scheduling a kid-friendly potluck or other event with co-workers and their families.

What’s worked for you?

Do you have a solution that’s helped you better manage your work and family lives to add? Let us know in comments — We’d love to hear about it!

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
1 comments
David Stillwagon
David Stillwagon

You really hit the nail on the head about how stressed fathers are today. It is definitely difficult to try to keep everyone happy in this rough economic time.

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