Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 197–221 | Cite as

Managing Work-Nonwork Boundaries in Atypical Working Patterns: Evidence from Flight Attendants in Canada and Germany

  • Sarah Nogues
  • Diane-Gabrielle TremblayEmail author


Atypical working times have become an increasingly common reality for much of the workforce. While most of the research has focused on the negative impacts of shift work on employee health and family life, the possibility of enrichment between work and life roles has rather been neglected. Yet, it appears that shift workers may have some leeway in determining their own schedule through the use of “flex shifts”, indicating a possibility to achieve a satisfying work-life balance. Through the lens of work-family boundary dynamics, our paper analyzes the choices and experiences of shift workers who can, to a certain degree, request shifts suiting their personal preferences. We conducted a qualitative research and led 59 semi-directive interviews with flight attendants and service directors from Canadian and German airlines. Our findings indicate the presence of work-life enrichment between shift work and other life roles, including but not limited to the family domain. Our results allow for a discussion on employees’ right to flexible work and the construct of “work-life balance” in the twenty-first century.


Work-life balance Shift work Cabin crew Workplace flexibility Boundary management 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

I confirm that there are no conflicts of interest, no animals were used and human participants gave informed consent to participate in the research. Also, I have an Ethics Certificate from my university, which confirms that I respected all ethics requirements of Granting councils.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

Human participants and all ethical requirements were respected.

Informed Consent

Yes, this was ensured.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TELUQUniversity of QuebecQuebecCanada

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