Th-SYM-1234-4 - How necessity affects the effect of work-related extended availability on work-life balance and the effectiveness of boundary management strategies

Track:
Flexible work hours
What:
Symposium
When:
1 hour
Where:
Accenture Theatre
Discussion:
0
 
Employment relations
Flexible work hours
Th-SYM-1234-4
How necessity affects the effect of work-related extended availability on work-life-balance and the effectiveness of boundary management strategies
N. Pauls 1,*, B. Pangert 1, C. Schlett 1
1University of Freiburg, Department of Psychology, Occupational und Consumer Psychology, Freiburg, Germany
 
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
Work-related permanent availability is defined as employees’ availability for work concerns outside the work domain. Previous research reflects that permanent availability mostly leads to impairments of work-life-balance. However, some studies also revealed positive effects on employees’ work-life-balance. The present study investigates whether the necessity of availability affects availability’s beneficial consequences. In this regard, we expect that permanent availability has more positive effects on employees’ work-life-balance and that boundary management strategies are more effective given low (i.e. a high degree of voluntariness) than high necessity.
 
Design/Methodology
To test our assumptions, we conducted a cross-sectional online study with 169 employees from the IT sector. Aside from permanent availability (i.e. number of work-related requests outside regular working hours), we assessed boundary management strategies, the necessity of the availability, work-life-conflicts and detachment from work.
 
Results
In line with our assumptions, moderated multiple regression analysis showed that permanent availability was associated with fewer work-life-conflicts when the necessity of availability was low but not when it was high. Similarly, boundary management strategies led to more detachment from work only when the necessity of availability was low.
 
Limitations
Results are based on a cross-sectional design and on a new measure of the necessity of availability.
 
Research/Practical Implications
Keeping the necessity low (e.g. reduce workload, emergencies) provides a strategy to ensure that work-related availability has positive (and not negative) effects on employees’ work-life-balance.
 
Originality/Value
This study provides first insight into the question under which circumstances permanent availability has beneficial consequences and sheds light on one underlying process.
 
 
 
 
 

 
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