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
90% of employees agreed that having more choice in working arrangements improves morale
35% of employees felt that people who work flexibly create more work for others
The availability of flexible working was important for 41% of employees when they made their decision to work for their current employer.
Those with flexible working arrangements were more likely to work long hours, suggesting that such practices facilitate greater labour market involvement.
Tipping, Sarah; Chanfreau, Jenny; Perry, Jane; Tait, Claire (2012) The Fourth Work-Life Balance Employee Survey, Employment Relations Research Series 122, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Drawing on UK data, the authors demonstrate that for couples who both enjoy flexible working schedules is greater spouse synchronization in daily working times by nearly one hour. They argue that the expansion of flexitime would increase couples’ work time coordination.
Bryan, Mark; Sanz, Almudena (2014) Flexible Working and Couples’ Coordination of Time Schedules, Discussion Paper 8304, IZA
Using the European Labour Force Survey, this report notes wide variation in working schedule flexibility across Europe – from 10% in Romania, to over 60% in the Netherlands and the UK. They argue that GDP per capita is a major predictor of the availability of work schedule flexibility.
They also analysed which social groups report the availability of flexible working. Women and young people reported less access to working schedule flexibility, while those aged over 60 reported greater access. Those with supervisory responsibility, higher-levels of education or with employment permanent contracts were more likely to report the availability of flexible working that their counterparts.
Präg, Patrick; Mills, Melinda (2014) Family-Related Working Schedule Flexibility Across Europe #6, Prepared for European Commission Directorate Justice and Fundamental Rights
Using Dutch panel data, the author argues that flexitime increases work-life balance and job satisfaction. However, teleworking improves only job satisfaction, and part-time only working-time fit.
The author also finds that remote working may harm careers since fewer promotions and employer-paid trainings are awarded to regular teleworkers. In their analysis of absenteeism, they demonstrate that schedule and location flexibility decrease the frequency and length of sickness absences.
Possenriede, Daniel (2014) The Economics of Temporal and Locational Flexibility of Work, Ph.D Thesis, Universiteit Utrecht
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
Golden notes that distribution of flexible schedules among workers is quite uneven. It will depends on demographic and job characteristics of workers, including gender, race, education level, occupation, employment, and usual work hours.
Access to flexible working remains uneven by sector and is not equally shared across individuals. It is less likely for nonwhites, women, unmarried persons, those with relatively less education, and those employed in the public sector. It is higher in many of the occupations and industries with generally higher skills and lower unemployment.
Golden, Lonnie (2001) “Flexible Work Schedules: What Are We Trading Off to Get Them” Monthly Labor Review, March
Blair-Loy demonstrates that, contrary to what might be expected, for workers in certain sectors, rigidity in work schedules can decrease work-family conflict.
She suggests that rigid scheduling protects these employees from pressures of a ‘24-hour economy’. Where client demands and other work could ‘invade every block of time’, flexible working in these cases allows for the extension of work into all aspects of life, and thus promotes work-family conflict.
Blair-Loy, Mary (2009) “Work Without End? Scheduling Flexibility and Work-to-Family Conflict Among Stockbrokers” Work & Occupations, 36(4)
Reporting on new research from the University of Cambridge, this article suggests that zero hour contracts and other modes of flexible working are abused by managers, and are leading to insecurity, anxiety and stress.
Whereas flexible working is often heralded as helping employees, the report’s authors argue it is being subverted to suit employers and is causing suffering to many workers who need to be available at short notice while often not working enough hours to earn a living wage.
They suggest that employees should be granted the statutory right to work additional core hours and have a say in the scheduling of their hours.
The survey also found that a lack of flexibility would damage the career aspirations of ‘high potential employees’. This particularly impacted female workers who, in workplaces with little or no flexible working, would be less likely to go after ‘stretch assignments and promotions’.