Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 101-119

First online:

Unbinding Time: Alternate Work Schedules and Work-Life Balance

  • Mark TausigAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology at the University of Akron
  • , Rudy FenwickAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology at the University of Akron

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We examine the possibility that alternate work schedules affect perceived work-life imbalance—the “time bind.” The results show that alternate schedules per se do not “unbind” time. However, perceived control of work schedules increases work-life balance net of family and work characteristics. The most consistent family characteristic predicting imbalance is being a parent. The most consistent work characteristic predicting imbalance is hours worked. Once we control for hours worked, women and part-timers are shown to perceive more imbalance. Younger and better educated persons also perceive more work-life imbalance. However, they also report higher levels of schedule control and since schedule control improves work-life balance, it may be more important for unbinding time than schedule alternatives.

work-life balance work schedules control