Modern-day dads now come in various forms. Gone were the days when their roles were mainly of breadwinner or disciplinarian. Today’s dads may be single or married, employed or stay-at-home, adoptive or step-parent. One thing is for sure – they are more than capable caregivers who can provide physical and psychological support for their children. Studies show that fathers’ affection and increased family involvement help promote social and emotional development. Fatherly love helps children develop a sense of their place in the world, which helps their social and cognitive development and functioning. Moreover, children who receive more love from their fathers are less likely to struggle with behavioural or substance abuse problems.1
Tyler Thorpe, Senior Consultant at Great Place to Work® shares:
“Both my wife and I have careers and have shared home responsibilities since we were married, including child care.
Like most growing up in the US, we did not have the support of a domestic helper. My mother committed to raising an ‘independent’ son, so since I was young, I learned to cook, clean, shop and do laundry – and appreciate what it takes. I also learned from my father but in a different way. He was more focused on his work and career demands, so was not much of a presence at home. Early on, I decided that spending quality time with my family would be a priority.
Work-wise, our biggest parenting challenges were often time and schedule-related. There were rarely enough hours or energy to do it all. At the start of each week, my wife, Jeannette, and I would schedule our week – who would go to work later and get the boys fed and off to school and come home later; and who would go in earlier and come home earlier – to help with extracurriculars, homework, and make dinner.”
In recent years, the changing economic role of women have also impacted this evolution. As the rate of women getting employed or looking for work increased, the need for their husbands to provide financially decreased. This elevated women’s confidence and autonomy, and have resulted in more harmonious relationships between partners and sharing of responsibilities. Fathers who do not feel bound to old social norms are comfortable of being fair, affectionate and nurturing with their children and spouses.1
Peh Lee Fang, wife of GPTW Singapore’s Emerging Markets Lead, Quak Swee Seng, proudly expresses:
“At home, Swee Seng is the living encyclopaedia and a playmate for our Daughter Hazel. While I take on a more protective role, Swee Seng allows Hazel to take small risks such as using the knife and taking the first step in cycling.
To Swee Seng, thank you for being our personal chauffeur, food delivery guy and technical assistance without complaint. Thank you for being such a great dad, teaching Hazel important life skills and taking time to counsel and discipline when you see a need.”
In the recent advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, most organizations shifted to the work-from-home set-up, and even working fathers have now found themselves together with their family members and having to support the household. Partners are now being faced with new ways to approach parenthood – with active involvement beginning from very early on – even from birth.2
Not surprisingly, a lot of father’s are finding this as an opportunity more than a disadvantage.
Ambrusius Widiyatmika, Data Operation & Head Engineer for PT Link Net Indonesia, a GPTW-Certified™ company conveys:
“Although I am not thankful for the pandemic, we can now enjoy weekends as a family and I am very grateful for this. It makes my aspiration to have my family as a priority become a reality, even as I accomplish my job with First Squad. This makes quality time more meaningful, whereas last time it was just a luxury.”
Karl Aranda, AVP for Collections at Synchrony Global Services Philippines, also adds:
“On a scale of 1-10 with 10 as the highest, I would definitely say it’s a 10. Gone are the days when I have to worry that something might go wrong at home whenever I leave for work. Gone are the days as well, when I am too spent on driving to and from the office. With the extra time and energy that the work-from-home set up has afforded me, I have been able to spend more precious time with my family. Not only that, being able to work at the confines of our home has allowed me to support my family financially without having to worry of the risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Notwithstanding, the challenge of juggling the well-being, education and raising of children while balancing full-time jobs can take its toll. Acknowledging this, a lot of companies are stepping up to make the transition easier for their employees. Great workplaces provide programs and tools to keep employees connected and at ease in the new set-up. Colleagues can support each other and share ideas on childcaring and household management tips. Some companies have provided flexible work arrangements and amped up medical and financial aid.3
In a recent talk, Great Place to Work® CEO, Michael C. Bush encouraged full flexibility, “Let people get things done …in their own way …on their own schedule.”
Liv.it Indonesia’s Head of Indonesian Operations and HR, Delvy Gusmiranto shares:
“With the move to work-from-home set-up, I realize that I can’t discount the amount of time and energy that my wife has to put into managing my household and that she needs all the help she can get. With the current situation I am able to share the load with my wife and also spend more time with my family. This may sound easy but it does take a very flexible and understanding company to make this work.”
By recognizing and acknowledging the variety of circumstances impacting so many people right now, the value of empathy and need for flexibility have allowed working fathers to flourish in their roles, both at work and at home. Knowing that they have the full support of their colleagues have impacted their lives in many positive ways, and have made them endure stoically through the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. This would of course trickle to the relationships they have with their partners and children, as they continue to bring fun, laughter, protection, financial security and most importantly, physical presence and care.
These are what our dear fathers from Great Workplaces have to say:
“At this stage in my career and parenting, the company support that I am most grateful for has less to do with being a working father and much more to do with the kind of work we do and our relationships as colleagues. At Great Place to Work, we are given the trust and flexibility to take care of work, family and personal needs as works best for us. My family, both in Singapore and the US, has been managing a couple of serious and unexpected health situations over the last year, and our Managing Directors, Evelyn and Joni, have been wonderful about checking-in and offering support as needed – from periodic food deliveries to encouragement to take time off to tend to family needs and re-charge.” – Tyler Thorpe
“Despite the chaotic situation due to the pandemic, I would like to thank Link Net for the fast response and action taken in early March 2020, and for the continuous support for all First Squad employees to ensure our safety and health. Also, thank you to all my First Squad colleagues who always care and uphold teamwork to make this all these achievements possible. We are FIRST SQUAD and ‘One who always discover POSSIBILITIES’ right?” – Pak Widi
“I am very fortunate to have a very supportive team. Whenever I need to be out on vacation to spend additional time with my family, I am always confident that my teammates are able to cover for me in my absence. Them being on top of their game consistently allows me to have a balanced work-family life and I am very thankful to them for that. I will always be thankful to Synchrony and to my Collections team for allowing me to spend more valuable time with my family. The success of the work-from-home set up has allowed me to devote more time and energy to that one gift that I have always valued – the gift of family.” – Karl Aranda
“Liv.it has done just that – giving flexibility to their employees to make sure they are able to manage their family duties and also work without sacrificing either one. This flexibility by the company is also supported by very helpful and understanding colleagues. We always support each other in times of need making sure that there are no disruptions to the work at hand. I feel really blessed and grateful to have all of this in my work life and it motivates me to give the best contribution to my company. Thank you Liv.it!” – Delvy Gusmiranto
(1) The Changing Role of the Modern Day Father
(2) Fatherhood during Covid-19 pandemic: an unexpected turnaround
Xyris loves to look at life through a broader lens. She is a certified bookworm, occasional writer, intrepid traveler and design enthusiast. She likes to create and breathe vibrancy to things. When not organizing events, she is a content contributor for GPTW PH and likewise handles corporate matters. A happy wife and a doting mom, she finds joy in unique experiences and believes that everyone has the potential for greatness.