Yvonne Lott, of the Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Institut (WSI) in Germany, questions whether working time flexibility can really deliver employee autonomy.
Flexibility in working time makes it possible to reconcile work with the affairs of private life. Whether this is caring for children or elderly parents, or pursuing a qualification alongside work – flexible working times give employees freedom to organize their time. In particular when employees can themselves determine how to organize their working time, their autonomy at work can seem unlimited. Self-determination of work schedules promises control over one’s own working time and thus autonomy over one’s time in general. Employees with such working times should, then, have relatively stress-free (work) lives. Right? I am skeptical. Continue reading →
This study argues that flexible working arrangements will have different outcomes based on gender.
The author demonstrates that working time flexibility and autonomy improve time adequacy for women. However, men tend to experience overtime and work intensification in connection with working time autonomy.
Lott, Yvonne (2014) “Working time flexibility and autonomy: Facilitating time adequacy? A European perspective” Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) Diskussionspapier 188, Hans-Böckler-Foundation, Düsseldorf
Drawing on data from the United States, this paper explores issues around autonomy and schedule control in the workplace.
It demonstrates that schedule control increases both the frequencies of bringing work home and work contact outside of normal working hours. This is especially the case for men. For both men and women, job autonomy is associated with more work being brought home. For men only, job autonomy is associated with increased work contact.
Schedule control and job autonomy also have implications for role-blurring and work-family conflict: work contact is positively associated with work-family conflict among individuals with low job autonomy, while bringing work home is associated positively with work-family conflict among individuals with greater schedule control.
Schieman, Scott; Glavin; Paul (2008) “Trouble at the Border?: Gender, Flexibility at Work, and the Work-Home Interface” Social Problems, 55(4)
This report consider time adequacy, that is, the fit between working time and all other time demands.
It demonstrates that working time flexibility and autonomy are positively associated with time adequacy. Performance-related payments and target setting are each associated with employees experiencing time squeeze. Moreover, the author argues that performance-related pay undermines the positive effect of working time autonomy.
Lott, Yvonne (2014) “Working Time Autonomy and Time Adequacy: What if performance is all that counts?” Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) Diskussionspapier 188, Hans-Böckler-Foundation, Düsseldorf