One way of simultaneously addressing the work-life balance needs of employees and the productivity needs of employers, while keeping costs down for both governments and companies, is the use of flexible working arrangements i.e., flexi-time. This approach has been supported at the company- national-, and even EU-levels via policies and campaigns, and can provide a good alternative to other more costly work-life balance policies. However, some scholars have shown that schedule flexibility / flexi-time can lead to spill-overs from work to home, blurring the boundaries between the two spheres leading to negative results for one’s work-life balance. On the other hand, we also find evidence that flexi-time is especially beneficial for individuals with more household or work demand, or less resources to address them. Despite the mixed results, in-depth evidence based on cross-national data remain lacking and the question of who is really able to benefit (more) from the use of schedule flexibility/ flexi-time, in what context, has yet to be answered. To provide this much-needed insight the work autonomy flexibility (WAF) project examines the following questions.

  • Who is able to use schedule flexibility (flexi-time)?
  • Which companies provide them, and why?
  • What is the impact of schedule flexibility / flexi-time on worker’s work-life balance?
  • Does this impact differ across different individuals with different family roles, working in different companies, living in different national policy and cultural contexts?
  • Have these relationships changed over time – pre and post crisis?

This study will bring forward a new dimension the study of work-family conflict and the role of working-time flexibility by understanding the dynamics in a wider perspective, which reflects the actual environments individuals and companies are placed in and provide us with new understandings of the role of policies.

This project also will be applying state of the art research methods, including Multilevel structural equation modelling and psuedo-panel approaches.