When we (Transitioning Well and Di Marzio Research) set out on this journey to uncover some of the challenges fathers face while juggling work and family commitments, we were living in a pre-COVID world. Who would have thought that a global pandemic would turn our world upside-down in 2020? And with this came a new way of working for many of us as well as a change in mindset for many businesses about how they would continue to operate.
Initially we questioned whether it was the right time to speak with fathers, given this unprecedented event as it was unclear what the long-term ramifications would be. But in hindsight, it was an ideal time to listen and learn. So we proceeded and engaged over 100 working fathers who generously gave their time and shared their experiences about the challenges they faced while managing work and parental responsibilities during COVID-19 and beyond.
This is a snapshot of what we learnt along with some suggestions about how the findings can be used and adopted by organisations:
You can click on the image to download it
One unexpected but welcomed learning from the whole process (which is not reported above) was how open and honest these fathers were with sharing their feelings. Several dads expressed vulnerability and some even described the process was “therapeutic” or said it “gave me a chance to reflect on my own situation”.
For me as a researcher, this was refreshing, enlightening and cathartic.
Refreshing in the sense that the fathers I spoke to ‘opened up’ to me and it contradicts the general impression that males don’t like to talk about their feelings and emotions with other males.
Enlightening because it gave me a chance to dig beneath the surface to learn more about their values and how these influence work and family commitments.
Cathartic in a way that I could relate to many of the stories they shared, giving me a better perspective and appreciation about the role we play as fathers.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone for your contribution to this research. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to listen and learn from all the fathers who participated.