Coping with boundaries - A study on the interaction between work and non-work life in home-based telework

University dissertation from Stockholm : Psykologiska institutionen

Abstract: The increase of women’s labor force participation, the diversity of family constellations, many men’s increased participation in childcare, and the development of flexible working arrangements have stimulated research on the relationship between work and non-work. In this thesis, the interaction between work and non-work is examined in the case of home-based telework, an example of flexible working arrangement. Because of the disappearance or blurring of the traditional boundaries in time and space, the consequences of these working conditions for individuals need to be analyzed. The overall aim of this thesis is to study the interaction between work and non-work in home-based telework and to analyze the following issues:- conflict versus facilitation as related to the segmentation and integration of work/non-work domains- the nature and role of boundaries- the physical and mental aspects of work activities within the domainsThe thesis is based on quantitative as well as qualitative data. In general, the results show that the domains of work and non-work do interact with each other in various ways and dimensions. The employees reported some degree of overlap spatially, temporally, and mentally, and limited overlap was preferred by the majority. The results show the importance of boundaries, as they are needed in order to bring structure and legitimacy to the work (carried out in the home/private domain) and to detach from work. The teleworking women reported less effective restoration than the non-teleworking women, while the teleworking men reported slightly more effective restoration than the non-teleworking men. Generally, the results showed that work tended to intrude more on family and non-work than vice versa. Individuals who experienced conflict between the domains of work and non-work also reported a lower degree of life satisfaction. Significant associations were found between facilitation (positive spillover) and life satisfaction and recovery.

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