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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>