Although paid parental leave is often associated with women, it’s no less important for men. And the good news is people are increasingly realizing the need for effective policies that address men’s family responsibilities and work demands at the same time.
As for the effects of paternity leave, perhaps most important, it goes a long way toward improving gender equity, as the demands of motherhood remain a major driver of pay inequality. In addition, paternity leave helps fathers bond with their families and get more involved in their children’s lives. In fact, fathers who take paternity leave are more satisfied with their family lives, and, in turn, increased engagement in childcare leads to better mental health and cognitive outcomes for their children.
Paternity leaves are also very beneficial for employers. Companies that support working fathers report much better employee retention, and their employees are more satisfied with their jobs.
Despite all the positive effects of paternal leave, many factors stop men from taking full advantage of their leaves. Some fathers can’t imagine leaving their jobs because returning after time off seems daunting and difficult. Meanwhile, other fathers prefer to cut their leaves short because their families can’t afford long, unpaid leaves (often, female employees only get unpaid leaves, which makes fathers’ incomes even more critical).
That said, to encourage more fathers to take their all-important paternity leaves, here are a few tips that will help fathers’ re-entry smoother and more successful.
1. Start Preparing for Your Leave Early
The success of your comeback depends on the situation at work while you’re absent. Thus, you should prepare to take a leave in advance. You may need to wrap up many things before your baby is born and make sure your colleagues and staff won’t have any problems without you. Find the right people to transfer your workload to. In addition, you should understand that sometimes babies can be late, so don’t leave your work until you actually need to. Stay busy and work as much as you can so that you won’t waste your precious leave having nothing to do.
2. Stay in Contact With Your Coworkers
Let’s be realistic, sometimes it’s hard or even impossible to completely forget about work for a long period of time. In addition, fathers don’t have to give a birth so their health condition remains good and they don’t need any time to recover. You don’t have to actually work from home, but your re-entry will be certainly easier if you keep answering emails or even participate in online conferences. You can help your co-workers cope with the additional workload from home while taking care of your baby.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Set Boundaries at Work
When you come back to work, your troubles at home don’t disappear. You’ll still need to spend much more time with family, so don’t be afraid to speed up a boring meeting where one of your coworkers shares his emotions about the NFL season. Speak up and help your team get back to the point. Brandon Will, a department manager at Masterra Writers, notes: “There’s nothing wrong with asserting yourself and setting boundaries. I made it clear that I can’t be present at any meetings after 5 p.m. It’s better to have more time at home.”
4. Keep Extra Clean Clothes
A sad fact: when you’re a father, your shirt is often stained with food, poop, or vomit. It happens so fast and so often that your plans to be at work on time may be ruined. To avoid stressful situations, keep clean and ironed clothes in your closet so that you can change your wardrobe fast.
5. Be Thankful
Show your teammates that you appreciate their help. They stepped in, for you when you couldn’t work, so buy them a gift to show your appreciation, or at least take them out to lunch.
Berta Melder is a content strategist, novice entrepreneur, and co-founder of the Masterra Writers. Specializing in brand management, she cooperates with different education courses and helps participants develop the brand management skills in the age of digital transformation. Follow her on Twitter.
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