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Creating a flexible workplace for all

09 October 2015

Research shows that a lack of quality flexible work is a key detriment to women’s workforce participation and ability to ascend the management ranks. With flexibility largely seen as a benefit afforded mainly to working mothers, gender inequality in access to quality work and promotions for women continues to increase.

However, a new generation of men coming through the professional ranks are set to challenge this outdated assumption, with a desire to prove that workplace flexibility should be available – and is beneficial – to all employees.

These men are increasingly searching for ways to integrate active parenthood with their working lives and are challenging the traditional workplace culture of long hours and presenteeism that is increasingly unsustainable and a critical barrier to gender equality.

One man up for the challenge is Adrian Cory, a construction foreman with Mirvac. Adrian is taking part in the Equilibrium Man Challenge, a documentary series following five men as they negotiate and transition from inflexible to flexible working arrangements.

Adrian’s desire to spend more time with his young daughter and support his wife Nicola in her return to work has seen him negotiate a formal flexible working arrangement that allows him to leave work early, three days a week to pick his daughter up from daycare.

Taking part in the initiative has freed Nicola up from some of her parenting duties, and allowed her to fulfil work commitments within her new position on those days.

“If Adrian wasn’t part of this initiative, I wouldn’t have been able to take my new job because of the hours, it just wouldn’t have been feasible,” she said.

Adrian’s experience has also opened his eyes to the parenting workload previously shouldered in the majority by Nicola.

“I don’t think I fully appreciated how much work Nicola did with Jasmine, I think I took it with a grain of salt,” he said.

“I felt like I’d be able to grab Jazzy and take her for walks and to the park – but I don’t have the time to do that! By the time I pick her up from daycare and put her to sleep, it’s full on.”

It’s incredible to think that flexibility in the workplace has provided Adrian and Nicola with a newfound appreciation for the obligations and commitments they each have. Taking part in the Equilibrium Man Challenge has provided them with greater empathy and understanding of the unique pressures of work and parenting, resulting in a closer bond between the two of them and a motivation to achieve their personal and professional goals as a cohesive team.

You can check out Adrian’s latest episode online and share your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

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