Dads Find Recession Took a Toll on Families

affect of recession on Dads As we oh-so-slowly climb out of the recession, it's interesting to take a look at how we've been affected. The good news is that 84 percent of working dads who have been laid off over the last 12 months say they have found full-time employment. The bad news is that fathers are now struggling harder than ever with work/life balance. Two-in-five spend two hours or less with their children each day, and 16 percent spend one hour or less.

That's according to CareerBuilder's annual Father's Day Survey. The research also found that one-third of the dads surveyed reported that they missed two or more significant events in their child's life due to work in the last year and an additional 19 percent said they have checked work voicemail or email during their children's events.

Fathers are also spending more time these days on the company clock -- both at work and at home: One-in-five report working more than 50 hours per week on average, up from 19 percent last year. Twenty percent reported that they bring work home at least three days per week.

"As companies downsized during the recession and work demands accelerated, we saw dads having a harder time finding balance between providing for their families financially and spending quality time with them," said Alex Green, general counsel for CareerBuilder and father of three. "Communicating openly and planning ahead both at work and home is critical, especially when personal and professional obligations are pulling you in 100 different directions. It's also important to cut yourself some slack. Even the best dads need a break sometimes."

Green recommends the following tips to help working dads find a better balance at work and home:

  • Talk about it – Remember that communication is a two-way street. Besides just listening to what is going on in your family's lives, talk about what is going on in your office, so everyone understands why you are away or have to do some work when you are home.
  • Scheduling is key to success – Add every family member's schedule to one master calendar so there are no surprises. Also, save vacation days for important events and talk to your supervisor about flexible work arrangements.
  • Establish a "no work" zone – Try to put down your smart phone and avoid checking emails from the time you arrive home until after your children have gone to sleep. Make sure your children do the same.
  • Consider flexible work arrangements – More companies are offering telecommuting options, flexible hours, condensed work weeks and other arrangements. Approach your boss with a game plan of how the new arrangement would work and how it can ultimately benefit the organization.
  • It is OK to say no! – In addition to actual work, sometimes activities associated with your job can take a toll on your free time. Determine what additional activities you can turn down and which are necessary so that you can free up more of your time outside of the office.

Next:Father's Day Special: Working Dads Face Frustrating Challenges

Stories from Reader's Digest

Read Full Story