Saturday, June 25, 2011

Professionals Who Can Work Flexibly Around Their Families' Schedules Do More Work

Another dispatch from the Schreyer Seminar on Marriage, Family, and Social Sciences

Jeffrey Hill (BYU) reported on what happens when work demands so many hours that it interferes too much with most worker's family lives. In a study of a large white-collar corporation, he found that if workers have no flexibility about when and where they work - if they must be in the office during certain hours - then the break point is about 52 hours of work per week. Beyond that they are either so unhappy that their work suffers, or they leave.

If, however, workers have greater flexibility about when and where they work, they can and do work more - until they come to a new break point of about 60 hours per week.

Hill also found that women tended to want to work from home, but with flexible hours - especially flexing around their children's schedules. Men were more likely to work closer to standard hours, but they moved among various locations, flexing around their family's and their client's schedules.

A great savings from telecommuting came from eliminating physical commuting, which is a source of unhappiness for most people who have long drives to work. Hill found that workers who eliminated their commute through telecommuting tended to give half of the time saved to more work.

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