1. You run the very successful dads’ network Daddilife – can you tell us a bit about it?
DaddiLife is a platform for modern day fatherhood and a community of over 150,000 dads.
I set it up 3 years ago because I believed (and still do) that dads are going through a generational shift when it comes to their day to day parenting, and need a platform that talks to them on their terms.
Last year we ran a research programme in association with Deloitte called The Millennial Dad at Work – which featured in depth research with over 2000 working dads to create the first comprehensive look into the work/life issues affecting today’s new generation of parents. Its since had a PR reach of almost 5 million and has opened up the pathway for more change for dads at work, largely as the research showed just how many dads were already ‘voting with their feet’ so to speak in finding employers who would understand their new family/work balance.
Flexible working is an area that we’re actively campaigning for, and through our Dads at Work hub we get a chance to shine the spotlight on those issues, success stories and our contribution to making that change happen faster.
2. What programmes is Daddilife focusing on for 2020?
Content: We’ll be continuing to focus on new ways of working for dads, and indeed wider modern day family. So expect to see much more dads at work content, but also new ways in which dads are getting more involved in family life as a whole. A great example of that is dad changing bags. It was a product category that simply didn’t exist 5 years ago, but now is one of the must have items for new dads!
Hopefully we can be having the same conversation about flexible working and dads in the next 5 years.
Support: We run a very specialized dad mentoring programme in partnership with The Parent Mentor and Avenir Consulting. In it we connect applicants with external mentors to drive significant culture change. We call it ‘New coding for organisations and their working dads.’
Change: There are also bespoke areas we’re helping specific organisations who are serious about a change when it comes to their modern day dads at work.
3. What are the most difficult aspects of being a modern working dad?
One of the call our stats from our research was that only just over half of the dads we have interviewed thought that they were treated equally to mums when it came to being a parent at work.
That’s a pretty shocking state of affairs, and what I see is that the stereotypes of ‘dads role at work’ is still omnipresent throughout our working culture.
Unless we get the equation right for dads, we can’t get the equation right for mums or indeed wider thriving modern family. It’s all interconnected.
But the prize if we do get it right is massive – it’s modern day thriving family. And in these times of great change, that’s one area that could be a beacon of great success for our country.
4. How can employers improve things for working dads?
It’s important to say first that there is no silver bullet. We have done a lot of research with a huge number of organisations, large and small, and the dad context in each is always different.
What I would say is that there has to be a real need and a real determination to change things. It takes a particular type of forward thinking employer to see how dads need to play catch up when it comes to real gender equality at work.
One area I would say does need consideration as a whole is that men’s emotional language is different at work – we aren’t always the best at being vulnerable at work, so the specific methods of kick starting change need different consideration to say what would be in place for new mums to be at work.
5. Can you tell us about what you will be talking about at the Flexpo Midlands event?
I’ve got the pleasure of being on 2 panels at the event:
Firstly, I’ll be on the Employer Stories panel sharing my specific journey of working flexibly in a very demanding role.
Secondly, I’ll be on the returners panel, sharing my tips and advice around returning back to work after a significant period out of the office.
For both I’ll be sharing more of the dad perspective, but also how mums and dads can forge better parental partnerships at work too.
6. What are you most looking forward to at Flexpo Midlands?
I really enjoyed the London event last year. It’s superb that events like Flexpo exist because they show us what change is possible, together.
Dads are a core part of the conversation now, and I’m really looking forward to taking things up another level with this event in the Midlands.