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 we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>