Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Setting boundaries between work and life helps families thrive

13.05.2003


With the flexibility to check e-mail at home, get the kids ready for school, call your boss on the way to work, and text message your next appointment, the nature of work has changed. However, contrary to popular opinion, people who integrate their work and families are not always happier, Michigan State University researchers say.

Instead, Ellen Kossek, an MSU professor of Labor and Industrial Relations, found that people who establish boundaries between work and family are actually more connected to their families than those who integrate their jobs and personal lives.

"We need to realize that it is OK to shut work out of our personal lives," said Kossek. "It’s counter intuitive, but spending more time specifically on work may actually help you spend more quality time with your family."



Surveying 95 supervisors and more than 300 of their employees, Kossek and her collaborators – Professors Susan Eaton of Harvard University and Brenda Lautsch of Simon Fraser University – studied how separating or integrating work with family obligations impacted workers’ happiness, time at work and performance. They found that managers who integrate tend to have more work and family conflict than those who separate.

"Work can take over our personal lives," said Kossek. "If you’re working from the family computer in the middle of the family room, your kids see you at work and don’t understand why you’re physically there, but mentally you’re someplace else."

"An easy way to begin to tell if you are an integrator or a separator is to ask, do you have one calendar or two? Do you have one key chain or two? Your ability to put up boundaries to your work and family may be able to help improve your happiness.

"If you must integrate, the best way to help your family is to have a separate door to the office," said Kossek.

Some people are naturally more integrated in their style than separated. "Women managers, on the whole, are more likely to be integrators than men," said Kossek.

Integration or separation can impact the amount of time an employee spends at work.

"All these technological time savers really end up taking more time," said Kossek, who found that on average people who worked from one office spent 43 hours per week at work, those in two places spent 45 hours per week at work and those working in three places spend an average of 52 hours per week at work a week.

"Counter to the popular perception of flexibility allowing people to excel in both their work and personal lives, employees who used portable work were rated lower in performance evaluations by their supervisors," said Kossek.

"Lower performance evaluations may actually be because supervisors do not know how to manage distance workers."

Kossek’s research will be discussed at the Managing Work-Life Integration in Organizations Conference, which she is co-chairing, on May 13 & 14 at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C. Co-Sponsors of the Conference include Booz Allen, Eli Lilly, S. C. Johnson, Whirlpool Corporation, the Center for Creative Leadership and MSU. Press scholarships are available.

MSU Labor and Industrial Relations faculty advance knowledge about working relationships and transform the lives of employers and employees. The School of Labor and Industrial Relations is located in the College of Social Science at MSU.


###
Creating, disseminating and applying knowledge in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences is the core mission of the College of Social Science at MSU. Faculty engage in interdisciplinary collaboration to gain in-depth answers to real world problems on local, national and international levels. The college prepares students to become leaders through challenging coursework and enriching out-of-classroom opportunities. Most importantly, the College of Social Science tailors knowledge to benefit the families, workplaces, and communities in which we live.

MSU has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative research, teaching and outreach for nearly 150 years. It is known worldwide as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 14 degree-granting colleges and affiliated private law school attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.


Ellen Kossek | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study suggests oysters offer hot spot for reducing nutrient pollution

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

World first for reading digitally encoded synthetic molecules

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>