Parents gained family time during the pandemic. Many do not want to return it. Missed-news

Ryan McCarty, director of the Cincinnati branch of the Robert Half employment agency, said he was away from home for 13 hours a day before the pandemic, including evening events and his 45-minute commute. He now works from home, which he said has allowed him to be there for his two young children for meals, doctor visits and milestones. One took his first steps in the middle of a weekday morning. Mr. McCarty is there in a video of it, in a button-down shirt and sweatpants, having rushed out of his home office to witness it.

“For a long time, it was: the man is the provider,” he said. “I was that guy. But now I’m not ashamed to say that this is who I am in my life. That’s what Covid did. We had a lot of downtime to reflect and think about what’s important.”

As a recruiter, you’ve noticed that men now regularly ask about flexibility. A recent client told him that his priority was to find his son on the bus at 3:30 pm and that he would forego payment for doing so.

“You would never have heard that from anyone’s mouth,” he said. “Never. And now it’s commonplace. It’s no longer a sign of weakness.”

Ben Campbell, a father of two girls under the age of 5 in Smithville, Texas, got used to spending time with his kids during the day when his sales job went remote at the start of the pandemic. So, in a later job, when a boss commented on how often he had parenting obligations, he replied, “Yeah, and that’s not going to change.”

He said it makes a world of difference that his current employer, AffiniPay, is run by a mother who talks to staff about juggling work and family. She now works from her home four days a week and his wife is also remote. At breaks, they run kid-related errands, or their kids show them the artwork they made with their babysitter. They couldn’t imagine giving that up if they worked in offices full time.

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