Male experiences of work-from-home policy while raising children (0–11 years) during COVID-19: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Abstract

The United Kingdom (UK) workforce is under unprecedented strain because of the COVID-19 pandemic where many were forced to work from home. While working from home has been a longstanding part of flexible working arrangements and a key part of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) push for ‘good work’, it was never intended to be the only way that many work. Research suggests that there is a difference between male and female experiences of homeworking; existing literature focuses on women’s experiences combined with the additional responsibility of parenthood. The lack of research into the male perspective can largely be attributed to the lack of working from home, in this demographic, before the pandemic. The objective of the research was to develop an understanding of the lived experiences of fathers, during these exceptional circumstances. The research aimed to begin an important discussion around how working from home affects fathers, as well as mothers. 

Semi-structured, video conference facilitated, interviews allowed for in-depth qualitative data collection following an Interpretative Phenomenological Approach (IPA). Data analysis used IPA methods, which, due to the focus on lived experiences, allowed the voice of the participants to remain and for their interpretation of their experience to be the findings of the study. 

Challenging work-life balance was the central theme developed as well as six superordinate themes. This paper brings together five fathers’ experiences of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows that these men found it hard to find balance in a world of blurred boundaries; this impacted on them physically and mentally and put unique strains on their relationships. This study is a base for further research around how the pandemic has changed the way the economy works and begins to contribute towards the gaps within existing literature. 


Keywords

work from home, mental health, physical health, men's experiences, policy, parent, HR, IPA

How to Cite

Barker, J. P., (2022) “Male experiences of work-from-home policy while raising children (0–11 years) during COVID-19: An interpretative phenomenological analysis”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research 8(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/fields.987

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Joshua Paul Barker (University of Huddersfield)

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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