Is workplace flexibility failing to give parents time with their children?
Parents are increasingly experiencing a 'time squeeze' as they struggle to navigate the pressures of full-time employment and the demands of caring for their children. Research in the Journal of Marriage and Family examines if flexible working schemes are helping or adding to this pressure.
The authors examined how the introduction of ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) has impacted parents' perceptions of their time. Under this scheme employees are paid for results, rather than their time.
The data showed that both parents saw changes in working hours such as ROWE as a major factor to their time, yet only mothers reported increased schedule control and improved time adequacy. However, this change was shown to be in perception only, as little change was reported in the actual time spent with children beyond evening meals.
"ROWE helped mothers feel that they were spending enough time with their children, even though it didn't change the actual amount of time for most parents," said Rachelle Hill from the University of Minnesota. "Mothers who participated in ROWE and ate fewer than three meals with their children per week were able to eat one additional family meal with their children compared to mothers in traditional departments."