Downside of Work Flexibility: More Work

TORONTO, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Employees who have control of their work schedule tend to work more, blurring the boundaries between work and the rest of their lives, U.S. researchers say.

Sociology Professor Scott Schieman at the University of Toronto and doctoral student Marisa Young asked 1,200 American workers: “Who usually decides when you start and finish work each day at your main job? Is it someone else, or can you decide within certain limits, or are you entirely free to decide when you start and finish work?”

“Most people probably would identify schedule control as a good thing — an indicator of flexibility that helps them balance their work and home lives,” the researchers say.

The study produced two core findings about the downsides of schedule control:

– People with more schedule control are more likely to work at home and engage in work-family multitasking activities; or try to work on job- and home-related tasks at the same time while they are at home.

– In turn, people who report more work-family role blurring also tend to report higher levels of work-family conflict, a major source of stress.

The work-family conflict is critical because “a substantial body of social scientific evidence demonstrates its link to poorer physical and mental health outcome,” Schieman says.

The findings are published online ahead of print in the Journal of Family Issues.

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