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Big Arms, Mustache? Today’s Fathers Want Work Flexibility

Today’s fathers want to provide their families with more than just a paycheck, according to a recent survey.

Modern dads believe that caring for their families’ emotional and physical needs is just as important as caring for their financial needs, according to The New Dad: Caring Committed and Conflicted study by Boston College Center for Work and Family. The 2011 study, part of an ongoing look at the role of fathers, cited that two-thirds of study participants believe both things have equal weight, with less than 5 percent seeing themselves as being a financial provider alone.

CMA marketing and new business development director
Rick Verbanas, marketing and new business development director, enjoys time with his kids during a family activity.

In honor of Father’s Day, the gentlemen of CMA explain how they manage work-life balance.

“I think to be healthy and happy, I try to have both sides,” said Rick Verbanas, marketing and new business development director. “Sometimes that means focusing on my kids by spending quality time with them, as well as helping raise them. On the other side, I love what I do, so it makes it easier to remain focused on work when it is time for work. While my kids are my main priority in life, I also understand providing for them is a key responsibility, and that means focusing on providing my best efforts at work.”

Flexibility is key to managing personal lives and work lives.

“Thanks to having the flexibility at CMA, I am able to manage my work life balance,” Verbanas said. “I’m fortunate to have an understanding boss that allows me the flexibility to take care of my ‘Dad’ responsibilities, trusting I will also take care of my work responsibilities.”

Verbanas is not alone in his desire to balance work and fatherhood.

A continuation of the study called The New Dad: A Portrait of Today’s Father done this year cites flexible working arrangements are highly valued by today’s workers. In fact, according to most surveys flexibility is one of the most prized benefits offered to employees. In the college’s 2011 study, working fathers ranked flexible work arrangements even higher in importance than career advancement opportunities or high income.

Boston College’s research also shows that more than three-quarters of fathers reported using flex-time, 57 percent worked from home at least some part of their time and 27 percent utilized com- pressed work week.

However, the value of workplace flex schedules aren’t specific to fathers.

Employers who have flexible work arrangements have employees who feel significantly more satisfied with their job. Flexibility is also good for the employer with employees reporting that these arrangements improve their productivity (85 percent), morale (84 percent), loyalty (82 percent), relationships with co-workers (77 percent), team communications (81 percent), and overall job satisfaction (86 percent).

“CMA offers great flexibility and understanding when it comes to personal obligations and needs,” said Scott Elgart, traffic coordinator. “When we put forth the effort and care to service our clients the way they deserve there’s generous accommodation from CMA to take care of our lives outside of work.”

For Elgart and Verbanas, giving their all at the office allows them to mentally relax in the off hours.

“Knowing I’ve done my best makes me feel good about leaving it behind and enjoying my time off the clock,” Elgart said. “I know that, even when things are hectic, I’ve put a great deal of effort into my work. If I’m asked to help out with something outside of normal work hours I know it’s because it’s important and most of all, it’s appreciated, so I’m glad to pitch in and help contribute to CMA’s success.”

Learning to turn “off” the work is a skill that men have to learn.

“I have come to realize taking care of myself means I’m more valuable to others,” said Verbanas. “That means personal time is crucial to being fresh for work. I have to be careful of not getting lost in work while I’m at home, because I love what I do. So, I try to make sure to consider if that work item is urgent and needs my attention right away, or if it can wait until the next business day.”

Technology, with all its connectivity, makes finding balance even harder, especially when we are used to looking at smart devices when they ring for a new message.

“Because we live in a digital world, a true work-life balance has become more challenging,” said Kenneth Hitchner, CMA’s public relations and social media manager. “You must be more organized to separate your professional side from the rest and make a true commitment to understanding what is urgent and what can wait.”

Even CMA’s President and CEO Jeffrey Barnhart flips the off switch during personal time, often fishing miles offshore where the cell phone doesn’t work.

“Offshore fishing at the canyons is great as cell phones don’t reach there,” he said. “Catching a big fish takes much teamwork from those on the boat and reinforces the notion that it is not always about you. Behind every successful entrepreneur is a great team. This allows for a relaxing day and a cleansing of the mind to enable a fresh start when back at work.”

As CEO, Barnhart admits he feels the pressure to be “on the job” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but he has learned downtime is essential for success of the business.

“Just because (business) can be (24/7), that doesn’t mean it should be, he said. “In order to be successful and stay focused and not risk burn out or complacency, it is important to have a healthy work-life balance for relaxation, clarity and overall well-being for myself and my employees.”