Ideas are changing about the challenges men face in achieving a satisfactory balance between their commitments to paid work and their family/ personal lives. Work/family balance was once seen to be a women’s issue and it was considered inappropriate for employees to raise issues about their family or personal lives at work. It was commonly assumed this was a private matter and that employees had a responsibility to manage their personal lives so that they did not interfere with their jobs.
My experience in working in the community and in organisations is that there is a growing acceptance that work/life balance is a key issue for men, their families and for organisations. An increasing number of men are raising concerns about work/family balance in the workplace. This includes (i) younger men who have partners and young children who are feeling the pressures of expectations about long hours and career progression, coupled with the demands of family life and their own desire to have a quality, balanced life; and (ii) men who want to phase into retirement through part-time work. Indeed, there is a growing tension in the workplace between young fathers who want a better balance and older ‘traditional’ male managers.
My goal is to raise issues and provide support and information about: (i) men’s experiences in paid work and the dilemmas they face in the corporate world; and (ii) the links between paid work and family/personal lives. I plan to focus on key issues across the lifespan, provide information on resources and new ideas.
Graeme Russell is an Associate Professor in Psychology at Macquarie University. He is an internationally renowned researcher and industry consultant on work/family balance -- especially from the perspective of fathers, industry-based work and family strategies (including the impact that work/family conflict has on work performance and personal well-being), organisational change, equal employment opportunity and workplace flexibility. He has considerable experience in conducting work and community based training programs on fatherhood, gender equity (at work and at home), work and family (e.g., with senior managers and their partners), negotiating change and managing diversity. He is the convenor of a bi-annual conference at Macquarie University on Men, Relationships and Change. He is the author of two books and over 50 research papers on fatherhood, gender and work/family issues. Work and Family Projects have been conducted for: Caltex, NRMA, Alcoa, Ampol, Australia Post, Esso, Yellow Pages, Nestle, Coles Myer.
A Hard Day's Work
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