Time is a scarce resource. We get it at the rate of 24 h per day. How we allocate it affects our satisfaction and the relationships we build with the people we care about. The use of time becomes most relevant when we talk about parenting. Technology
has facilitated that boundaries between work and non-work hours almost disappear. Globalization has led to 24/7 demands on many employees. More women in the workforce and more single-parent families mean no backup for child and elder care at home. Rapid changes in competition, unrest in social and legal structures, and volatility in market valuation means that companies and individuals need to be agile and adaptable. For all these reasons, how we distribute time between work and family has become increasingly challenging. Also, time allocation impacts not only family life but also work life, health, satisfaction, and social behaviors.
Researchers have long studied how to facilitate both, that women enter in the work force and balance their professional career and home life. However, they have not put the same effort into studying how to foster that men enter the home sphere and balance it with their professional work. This has created an imbalance. More and more women are getting into the workplace, yet men are not entering the home sphere at the same pace. This is an unsolved issue, as men continue to feel some social pressure to be breadwinners, and since workplaces still often see balance as a women’s issue (Ladge et al. 2015) and much legislation presumes that women primarily take care of children instead of men. The study of fatherhood is likely to have a positive influence on gender equality in the workplace, and the amount of time that both parents spend with their children.
Parenting provides unique rewards, and it serves as a buffer against work problems (Kirchmeyer 1992). Family involvement helps in developing skills that are transferrable to the workplace, such as time management and patience.
According to Greenhaus and Powell (2006), work-family enrichment improves life quality both in the family and work.
Fathers’ involvement at home has a positive impact on the developmental outcomes of their children (Sarkadi et al. 2007; see also earlier chapters in this volume). Lamb (2010) shows that there is not only a positive effect of fathers’ involvement, resulting in higher cognitive competencies, more empathy and more internal locus of control of their children, they also shows that the absence of the fathers results in negative outcomes, such as having lower school performance. Pleck’s research (2010) shows that interactive activities (e.g., playing and reading) between the father and his children results in children with fewer behavioral problems and better cognitive development.
In this chapter, we intend to contribute to our collective knowledge about the impact of managers on the time fathers (collaborators of those managers) spend with their children. We will focus on three significant positive engagement activities: family dinners, playing, and reading. We use data from seven Latin American countries that reveals differences between countries.