Beyond the (spatial and temporal) boundaries of the traditional workplace: a case study of academics

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


Communication technology has changed the way in which work can be organized. It enabled work to extend beyond the office walls and office hours. Literature on the possible consequences of extensification of work is twofold. On the one hand, temporal and spatial flexibility are a resource for dealing with high demands and conflict situations. It is said to be useful for balancing both family and work demands, and for reducing conflicts between work and home. But on the other hand, communication technology has made the boundaries between work and private life blurry and is enabling work to intrude into the home. Traditionally, work and family are coupled with different temporal regimes that have their own set of time norms, with different parts of the day and the week assigned to different activities (related to work, leisure, family, … ). Redrawing boundaries is necessary and challenging when one combines different, often competing, temporalities. It seems that the possibility to work from home can be both a blessing and a curse (‘paradox of flexibility’). We want to examine the temporal and spatial boundaries of the contemporary workplace and what this means for employees’ work-life balance. We will use diary data to investigate the way academic professors, who combine high work demands with high levels of flexibility, address their time and manage their working life. A total of 170 time-use diaries will be used, collected in the 2015 research on the time-use and workload of professors at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.
Period19 Jul 201721 Jul 2017
Event title39th International Association for Time Use Research Conference: Time use research: past, present and future perspectives
Event typeConference
LocationMadrid, Spain
Degree of RecognitionInternational