Does Flexibility Help Employees Switch Off from Work? Flexible Working-Time Arrangements and Cognitive Work-to-Home Spillover for Women and Men in Germany

Abstract

The present study investigates the effects of flexible working-time arrangements on cognitive work-to-home spillover for women and men in Germany. It analyzes (1) how schedule control, i.e. flexitime and working-time autonomy, and the lack of control, i.e. fixed schedules and employer-oriented flexible schedules, are related to work-to-home spillover and (2) whether these relationships are mediated by job pressure and overtime hours. The multivariate analyses based on the German Socio-Economic Panel Study in 2011 and 2012 show that employees have the most spillover with working-time autonomy and employer-oriented schedules and the least with flexitime and fixed schedules. Working-time autonomy is related to a higher cognitive work-to-home spillover, but only for men, and mainly due to overtime hours. Working-time unpredictability and unreliability seem to be reasons for higher spillover with employer-oriented schedules. This, however, is the case mostly for women, i.e., only women are likely to experience cognitive spillover with employer-oriented flexible schedules—above and beyond job pressure and overtime hours. Moreover, women, but not men, seem to suffer less with flexitime. This study provides evidence to show in which way distinct flexible working-time arrangements contribute to work-to-home spillover and reinforce gender inequality.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the reviewers for their comments which helped improving the paper considerably. I would also like to thank Heejung Chung, Tanja van der Lippe and Philipp Lersch for their suggestions.

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Correspondence to Yvonne Lott.

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Table 5 Variables used in the analyses (N = 8960)

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Lott, Y. Does Flexibility Help Employees Switch Off from Work? Flexible Working-Time Arrangements and Cognitive Work-to-Home Spillover for Women and Men in Germany. Soc Indic Res (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-018-2031-z

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Keywords

  • Work-to-home spillover
  • Flexible working-time arrangements
  • Schedule control
  • Job pressure
  • Overtime hours
  • Gender