Can men have it all? Increasingly, work-life balance for men has become a well-covered topic in the news media, books, and blogosphere. The demands of our “always on” lifestyle has meant that quality family time can become more scarce and many families struggle to find balance.
Yet, if the company you work for is on board with cultivating a family-friendly atmosphere, this elusive “work-life balance” seems much more achievable. The proof is in the research, which says that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees. So if a company is investing in making their employees happy, they are ultimately investing in the success of their company. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? This year, I have increasingly appreciated working for a family-friendly company that “gets” parenting. I have the privilege to work for Speech Buddies both as co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer, and also as a featured speech therapist on the Speech Buddies Connect Network. Speech Buddies Connect is an online network of local speech therapists that parents can search to find the best speech professional for their child. Our family benefits, society benefits and (yes!) my company benefits. It’s time for men and dads to show what’s possible when companies value the humans behind the job title. Here are four ways that family-friendly companies are good for men, families, business (including the bottom line!) and the world.

1. Flexibility makes work + life work

Fathers increasingly want to play a hands-on role on the homefront, but that’s simply not possible in an office culture that demands that men be on site 9-5 (or more commonly, 8-6, or 7-8), even without a specific reason for making that demand. Fortunately, lots of companies are starting to rethink their archaic approach to work, and embracing technology that enables moms and dads to do their work on their schedules. We see this at Speech Buddies Connect, where our scheduling system uses technology to set appointment times that work for both the parent and the speech-language pathologists. It’s a “trust your workers” mentality from which many companies could benefit. This flexibility is essential in my life, as my wife has a demanding job with long hours and we share caretaking duties for our kids.

2. Father-friendly companies are good for business

Companies should pay attention to the changing nature of a father’s role in the family unit. More and more, we see both parents sharing child-rearing responsibilities. Whether that’s dropping-off and picking-up kids from school, or splitting household responsibilities, fathers have become increasingly involved with their children. This changing landscape gives insightful employers the opportunity to make work conditions and hours more flexible across the board. When mothers and fathers both have active roles in raising their children, it generally has an immediate and positive impact on a child’s emotional well-being. A company who openly acknowledges that a “family-friendly” workplace applies to both mothers and fathers will develop better employee retention and a more motivated workforce. Now that’s good business!

3. The humans behind the work are valued

The flexibility afforded by creating my own schedule allows me to pick up additional work when it’s needed or lighten my load on weeks when that’s necessary in my personal life. It not only allows us to offer our services to those in need when we are available, but allows us to prioritize family time as well. My company knows us; who my spouse is, what my kid’s names are, what I like to do in my spare time. They know I’m a father who wants to spend time with family, and who also has parental obligations that take me away from work sometimes. This is largely due to the fact that we have the necessary personal time to spend with our own families guilt-free. Seeing us as people, and not just employees, helps us succeed in our work by assuring the families we’re working with that we’re fully committed to supporting them. Oh—and many studies show that people who feel valued by their employers (especially around family issues) are more loyal to those companies. And that makes good business sense.

4. Commit to your employees—they’ll commit to your mission

One thing that makes me so proud to be a part of Speech Buddies is its mission— dedicated to improving the lives of families living with speech or communication challenges. For many of our employees and the speech-language pathologists in our network, seeing the bigger picture of our business is what drives them to work hard. You see: Flexibility at work doesn’t mean taking it easy, it means digging in when you must to achieve a greater good. When we value those families, employees become loyal. And as I’ve seen in my work, loyalty to a great mission means amazing things can happen.