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Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance



Nowadays, flexible working hours are becoming important to the workplaces. A lot of organizations offer flexible working hours to employees due to the benefits that flexibility gives to both employee and employer. Greater employee productivity and higher organization profitability are the most common benefits. Also, flexible work-ing hours promote and facilitate work-life balance. Reduced stress and increased employee wellbeing are out-comes of the work-life balance. In this paper, the relationship between flexible working hours and work-life bal-ance is investigated.
American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2014, 4, 20-23
Published Online January 2014 (
Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard
Centre of Post Graduates Studies, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
Received December 10th, 2013; revised January 1st, 2014; accepted January 6th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Com-
mons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work
is properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2014 are reserved for SCIRP and the
owner of the intellectual property Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard. All Copyright © 2014 are guarded by law and by
SCIRP as a guardian.
Nowadays, flexible working hours are becoming important to the workplaces. A lot of organizations offer flexible
working hours to employees due to the benefits that flexibility gives to both employee and employer. Greater
employee productivity and higher organization profitability are the most common benefits. Also, flexible work-
ing hours promote and facilitate work-life balance. Reduced stress and increased employee wellbeing are out-
comes of the work-life balance. In this paper, the relationship between flexible working hours and work-life bal-
ance is investigated.
Flexible Working Hours; Benefits; Work-Life Balance; Stress; Wellbeing
1. Introduction
Flexible working hours have recently gained a lot of at-
tention from organizations and scholars as family-friendly
policy. Nowadays, organizations are trying to incorporate
a culture of trust by offering employees flexibility in the
workplace [1]. In addition, some researchers argue that
flexible working practices facilitate work-life balance,
and with shifting family patterns such practices are be-
neficial for both women and men [2-4]. In this paper,
relationship between flexible working hours and work-
life balance is examined. This paper investigates whether
flexible working hours support and enhance work-life
balance or conversely create difficulties in balancing
between work and life roles.
Firstly, some previous findings on flexible working
hours are examined. With the use of existing evidence,
flexible working hours are considered from employee
and employer sides in order to show that flexibility in the
workplace beneficial is not only for employee, but for
employer as well. Secondly, existing literature on work-
life balance is scanned. Stress and employee wellbeing
are discussed as they are two key outcomes of work-life
balance, one is negative and the other one is positive re-
spectively. The literature lacks the evidence of flexible
working hours impacting on work-life balance; however,
two concepts are frequently used together in the studies.
The paper proceeds with a brief discussion on a chosen
topic. And finally, conclusion is provided to summarize
the ideas of the paper.
2. Flexible Working Hours
Work flexibility implies not only variation in time and
place of the job, but also sharing of the job, career breaks
(maternity/paternity leaves), part-time and term-time
working [5]. In the other study on flexible work arrange-
ment (FWA), researchers discussed three broad catego-
ries of FWA-flexi-time (flexibility in scheduling), tele-
homeworking (flexibility in location), and part-time (fle-
xibility in length of the work) [6]. While each of the ar-
rangement could be used individually, they are frequen-
tly combined to compliment each other [7]. It should be
noted that work flexibility offers convenience in planning,
not reducing the working time. Thus, flexibility in work
might be summarized as the ability of employee to con-
trol his/her working time duration as well as location of
work (remotely from office), this ability in scheduling
Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
work suppose to be offered by employer [8].
2.1. Benefits for Employers
Employers have introduced flexible working packages
(part of work-life policy) in order to attract, recruit, and
retain highly qualified staff to their organizations [9].
With the ability to schedule the work himself/herself,
employee feels that employer cares about wellbeing and
non-working life of employee [10]. That leads to in-
creased satisfaction with the job and employer, resulting
in higher work commitment [11]. According to some
other previous findings, flexible working result in em-
ployee loyalty and engagement, increased organizational
commitment, and higher job satisfaction, also flexible
working packages help to recruit and retain talented em-
ployees for the organization [12]. Furthermore, increased
productivity, reduced employee turnover and absentee-
ism have been identified as advantages of flexible work-
ing for the employers [13]. Thus, flexible working prac-
tices are beneficial for employers, hence flexibility was
embedded to the work in order to give employees an op-
tion to choose at what time, how much time, and from
which place to work.
2.2. Benefits for Employees
Despite apparent advantages of flexible working prac-
tices (employee personal control over work scheduling),
some employees, mostly men, think that such practices
result in lower income and higher employment insecurity
[14]. According to the same findings, men see flexible
working practices as a way to develop their organiza-
tional commitment, while women associate flexibility
with the work-life balance improvement. The evidence
suggests that flexible working practices fit women more
then men and are more likely to be employed by women
due to the ideology beliefs of motherhood [15]. The
findings from previous research also assert that women
request and access the flexible working hours more fre-
quently then men [16]. However, due to the changing
family patterns and gender norms, as well as rise of
women workforce, flexible employment is slowly started
utilizing by men these days [17]. Flexible working prac-
tices help to fulfil work-life responsibilities and might
result in work-life balance. The literature suggests that
there is a positive relationship between flexible working
practices and health issues-employees better mental
health and stress reduction [18].
3. Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance concept recently gained attention due
to its relevance and importance to all employees, despite
of their relationship status, family size, and number of
children. Some researchers believe that lack of balance is
an effect of conflict between work and life responsibili-
ties [19]. In their study on the support for the work-life
balance, researchers found that emotional and instrumen-
tal support for employee during the work has a positive
relationship with the work-life balance satisfaction [20].
The positive relationship has been found between work-
life balance and work performance [21]. Thus, successful
accomplishment of life responsibilities (family and pa-
rental roles) results in better work performance. While
finding a balance in life and work responsibilities in-
crease general life satisfaction [22].
3.1. Stress and Work-Life Balance
Each person defines stress in a different way. For some
stress occurs from working overtime, from pressure to
meet deadlines, or from fear of failure. In general, stress
occurs when person has no control over when, where,
and how he/she does the work [23]. High level of stress
might result in mental and physical health problems, such
as headaches, depression, heart attack, and cancer; stress
is also an antecedent of unhappy and disharmonious rela-
tionships that cause work-life conflict [24]. The evidence
suggests that those employees who have work-life bal-
ance difficulties experience higher stress then those who
found balance between work and life responsibilities
3.2. Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance
The definition of wellbeing is associated with health and
wellness [26]. It is employers responsibility to create
working environment (workplace wellness culture) that
promote employee wellbeing [27]. Furthermore, authors
suggest that physiological wellbeing leads to mental
wellbeing, and both are helping to achieve work-life
balance. The other previous findings suggest that em-
ployee wellbeing directly influence productivity and per-
formance; as well as organizational commitment, job
satisfaction, and work-life balance are outcomes of em-
ployee wellbeing [28-30].
4. Flexible Working Hours and Work-Life
Flexible working hours have been introduced as a benefit
for parent/caring employees in order to help them fulfil-
ling work and life responsibilities and achieving work-
life balance [31]. In the recent work-life balance survey,
researchers found that employees believe that flexible
working practices improve workplace morale, which
might positively influence work-life balance; in addition
employees believe that employer is able to help them
balance their work and life roles [32]. As an example,
flexible working hours is one of the best activities to in-
crease employee wellbeing, as it helps employee to deal
Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
with responsibilities outside the work [33].
5. Discussion
Flexible working practices are beneficial for both em-
ployee and employer. Hence, in the first place flexibility
was introduced to the workplace in order to help em-
ployees with kids or employees who care after siblings to
manage their time between work and life. As flexibility
gives employee the ability to control when, where, and
how much time do they work, flexibility definitely con-
tributes to improvement in allocation of work and life
responsibilities. Thus, employee might end up fulfilling
his/her working as well as well non-working roles easily.
Finally, successful achievement of inside the work and
outside the work responsibilities leads to finding work-
life balance, which increase overall life satisfaction. To
summarize, it might be said that use of flexible working
practices positively influence on work-life balance and
overall life satisfaction of the employee.
Looking from employer point of view, flexibility in
the workplace also brought some important benefits.
Higher satisfaction with the work and employer, better
employee performance, greater organizational commit-
ment, and lower employee turnover and absenteeism are
all outcomes of flexible working practices that at the end
lead to increasing companys productivity and profitabil-
The stress on the work impacts on employees per-
sonal outside the work life, which creates difficulties in
finding work-life balance. Stress causes some serious
mental and physical problems that negatively influence
on employees productivity and wellbeing. Thus, it might
be said that on the work stress decreases employee’s
work-life balance, while wellbeing contributes to higher
level of work-life balance. It is the responsibility of em-
ployer to create the wellness workplace (stress-free and
trust-based environment) for employees in order to in-
crease their productivity.
Previously, flexible working hours have been highly
requested and used by women due to their family roles.
However, flexible working hours are offered to men as
well. Nowadays, both women and men due to the new
family patterns use flexible working practices, where
both parents have equal family roles and dual family in-
come. Thus, it is important for both of them to success-
fully fulfil work and life responsibilities and achieve
work-life balance.
6. Conclusions
This paper examined flexible working hours from its
positive point of view. The investigation showed that in-
troduction of flexible working hours brought some bene-
fits for both employee and employer. Also, flexibility in
the workplace gives employees time to perform outside
of the work roles and it helps balance employees’ work
and life.
Trust between employer and employee is an important
issue when it comes to flexible working hours. If not
monitored by manager, flexible working hours might
create some difficulties in the workplace. Further study
on flexible working hours need to be taken to understand
the drawbacks of such practices. Only after investigating
flexible working practices from both positive and nega-
tive sides, organizations might consider applying flexi-
bility to the workplace.
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Bu araştırmanın amacı, esnek çalışma uygulamalarının çalışanların öznel iyi oluş ve iş tatminleri üzerindeki etkisini incelemektir. Bu kapsamda nicel bir araştırma gerçekleştirilmiştir. Araştırma evreni Bitlis il merkezindeki kamu kurum çalışanlarından oluşmaktadır. Örneklemi ise esnek çalışma uygulamalarına dâhil olan 311 katılımcı oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmaya veri elde etmek amacıyla anket tekniğinden yararlanılmıştır. Araştırma kapsamında elde edilen veriler ilk olarak yapı ve geçerlilik yönünden analiz edilmiştir. Daha sonra araştırma hipotezlerini test etmek amacıyla regresyon analizleri yapılmıştır. Yapılan analizlerde; zamansal esnekliğin, bireye ve kuruma bağlı öznel iyi oluş ile iş tatmini üzerinde anlamlı bir etkiye sahip olduğu görülmüştür. Diğer taraftan, iş yapısından kaynaklı esnekliğin sadece bireye bağlı öznel iyi oluş üzerinde anlamlı bir etkisi olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Araştırma bulgularına göre; özellikle zamansal esneklik uygulamaları çalışanların hem iş tatmini hem de öznel iyi oluşlarını artırmaktadır.
Manufacturing companies face rapid changes impacting the way their employees work and the way work is organized. Future of Work serves as a collective term to describe future working environments that today are characterized by increasing digitalization, requirements on sustainability, and resilience. This literature review synthesis nine topics for organizations to address regarding Future of Work. The contribution is a state-of-the-art analysis of the research area Future of Work in the manufacturing industry, clustering the nine identified topics into the established organizational framework Technology, Organization, People. These nine topics are: (1) Knowledge, Skills, and Competence Development; (2) Leadership; (3) Collaboration and Communication; (4) Corporate Culture; (5) Work Forms; (6) Workplace and Work Environment; (7) Technology Infrastructure and Strategy; (8) Occupational Health and Wellbeing; and (9) Digital Organisation and Network. This study gives theoretical implications about the research topic Future of Work, broadly used but yet under development, by synthesizing relevant work about the Future of Work in the manufacturing industry and providing a framework where the identified topics are clustered. From a managerial perspective, this study supports companies in understanding the topics to address and start change processes. The identified topics can be used by managers to organize their efforts towards the Future of Work to prepare their employees and their organization.
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Purpose – The purpose of this expert commentary is to provide an overview of current scholarship on changes occurring in the work environment and its impact on employee wellbeing. The commentary touches on frontier issues such as measurement of healthy work environment, positive and negative changes in work environment influencing employee wellbeing, link between employee productivity and wellbeing, challenges in converting theory into practice, sustainable organizational behavior, workplace wellness, and several other issues germane to the special issue. Design/methodology/approach – The expert commentary explicates the current state of scholarship in relation to the theme of the special issue. The design of the expert commentary, a scholarly conversation between the Guest Editors and University Distinguished Professor Ellen Ernst Kossek, provides an easy to access summary of the current knowledge in the area. This format is intended to inform readers of IJM and to stimulate further scholarship in the area. Findings – The expert commentary provides a gist of key findings in the extant area of research, serving to inform readers about what we know, do not know, and fruitful areas for further enquiry. Originality/value – It provides an overview of current knowledge in the area.
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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to investigate the role of work locus of control (WLOC) as a moderator of the relationship between employee wellbeing and organizational commitment. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper reports on a quantitative study of middle level executives from motor-cycle manufacturing organizations based in Northern India. The focus of the paper is to examine the predictive ability of wellbeing and the moderating effect of WLOC in predicting organizational commitment. Findings ‐ The results suggest that wellbeing is negatively related to conditional continuance commitment, whereby employees consider the advantages associated with continued participation and costs associated with leaving, and normative commitment, whereby employees feel they have moral obligations to remain with the organization. The presence of an external WLOC has a positive impact on the relationship. Wellbeing, as represented by a hassle-free existence, predicts positive affective commitment with a particular organization, and internal WLOC as represented by effort influences the relationship negatively. Research limitations/implications ‐ Although a cross-sectional study, its findings have implications for contemporary leadership and organizational psychology research and practice, particularly with regard to understanding of employee commitment in a progressively changing environment. Originality/value ‐ Studies examining the role of WLOC as a moderator of the relationship between wellbeing and organizational commitment are limited particularly in the context of post-liberalization, as is the case with the manufacturing industry in India.
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This article analyses the effects of access to flexible work arrangements, namely flexi-time, telehomework and part-time work, on employees' satisfaction with the fit between paid work and private life and their overall job satisfaction. Having access to flexible work arrangements gives employees more control over their working life and thereby improves on the match between paid work and private life. Based on unique cross-sectional survey data collected among more than 20,000 Dutch public sector employees the results show that access to flexible work arrangements, especially flexi-time, is associated with sizeable increases in satisfaction with working-time fit and overall job satisfaction. Somewhat surprisingly, the effects hardly differ between male and female employees and between employees with and without children. Flexible work arrangements apparently appeal not only to employees with family responsibilities but more general to all employees.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) and particularly reduced hours working arrangements on a Dual Agenda of gender equity and workplace effectiveness, in a case study organization employing a relatively high proportion of women scientists. Design/methodology/approach In‐depth interviews based on the initial stages of collaborative interactive action research (CIAR) are used within a case‐study approach. The interviews explored working practices, the assumptions underpinning them and their un/intended consequences. Findings The main form of FWA used in the organization, four days a week, is double edged and complex in its effects. It supports mothers, but at a cost because of gendered assumptions. Despite a commitment to flexibility and “work‐life balance”, the gendered construction of the ideal worker and ideas of competence conflated with hegemonic masculinity, remain powerful. This, together with a prevalent “good mother” ideology, undermines both gender equity and workplace effectiveness. Practical implications This paper is of value to both researchers and policy makers. It shows that highly developed work‐life balance or flexible working polices are not sufficient to enhance gender equity and points to the importance of surfacing and challenging gender assumptions in science, engineering and technology. It emphasizes the need to move forward from policy to practice. Originality/value This paper contributes to a growing body of work using initial stages of the CIAR methodology and showcases the theoretical insights gained by such an approach.
In April 2003 the UK Government introduced the right for working parents to request flexible working arrangements under the provisions of the Employment Act 2002. This legislation has been widely criticised as providing only weak rights for employees, as neo-institutionalist business systems theory would lead one to expect in Britain?s ?Liberal Market Economy?. However, criticism of the law has to be tempered by understanding how it relates to practice in large companies and this paper investigates these practices. It finds that large companies have gone beyond the terms of the legislation, in order to establish themselves as ?employers of choice?. It is therefore argued that British practice, in reality, only partly conforms to the expectations generated by neo-institutionalist business systems theory.
Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the effect of flexible working conditions on work‐family conflict in European countries. Flexible work has increasingly been used by employers to adapt to the demands of economic competition, often at the expense of employee's demands. Yet, at the same time, flexible work can provide a means to better combine work and family obligations. The paper seeks to explore which of these effects dominates for different types of flexible employment, paying specific attention to gender‐specific effects. Design/methodology/approach – For the cross‐national analysis of work‐life‐conflict, the authors employ the latest wave of the European Social Survey (ESS) from 2010, featuring a module on “Family, work and well‐being”. Binomial logistic regression is used to identify determinants of work‐life‐conflict both on the micro‐ and the macro‐level. In addition to looking at flexible work forms as a phenomenon per se, specific attention is given to the experience of different types of employment flexibilization throughout the financial crisis. Findings – For both genders, irregularity and unpredictability of working hours negatively impact on work‐life conflict beyond the mere amount of working hours. Yet, higher autonomy in choosing one's work time is used very differently: While women tend to use their control over working hours to achieve a better work‐life‐balance, men tend to use these arrangements to increase their work commitment, thereby enhancing their perceived work‐family conflict. The authors argue that this gender‐specific use of flexible work arrangements might still reflect the traditional gender roles and gender‐segregated labour market structures. Adding to previous literature, the authors furthermore demonstrate that gender‐specific differences are also apparent in the effects of the most recent economic crisis. Originality/value – By examining the effects of various types of flexible employment separately for men and women, the paper contributes to a better understanding of the gender‐specific effects of flexible work arrangements on work‐family‐conflict within European countries. The 5th wave of the ESS furthermore for the first time allows an empirical investigation of the effects of the recent financial crisis on work‐family conflict from a cross‐nationally comparative perspective.
Purpose The purpose of the paper is to show that, though essential, the achievement of business‐oriented performance outcomes has obscured the importance of employee wellbeing at work, which is a neglected area of inquiry within the field of human resource management. Instead the emphasis typically placed on the business case for HRM suggests a one‐sided focus on organisational outcomes at the expense of employees. With this in mind, this paper seeks to examine the effects of HRM practices on employee wellbeing and performance. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected from a public sector (local government) organisation to identify the link between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work, and performance. A preliminary staff survey of employees provides a brief overview of the link between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work and performance. Findings HRM practices adopted have a significant impact on employee wellbeing at work and tend to be more positive than negative. Overall a consistent result in the study was that management relationship behaviour in the form of support and development of trust, promoted employee wellbeing at work amongst workers. In general, the findings will prove helpful to human resource practitioners, management, policy makers and business practice. Research limitations/implications HRM practices that help to maximise employee wellbeing at work are not necessarily the same as those that make up “high performance” HR practices. Moreover, the promotion of wellbeing at work is not likely to be a result of the HRM practices but can be linked to line management leadership and relationships. Practical implications The importance of management relationships, support and employees' trust was found to predict wellbeing at work. The decision by management to embrace the business case for employee wellbeing at work is likely to complement more conventional methods of improving employee attitudes and productivity, which in turn can enhance organisational effectiveness and decision making. Originality/value This paper builds on existing work within HRM and provides a framework for establishing the linkage between HRM practices, employee wellbeing at work and performance in the public sector that it is suggested could improve individual and organisational outcomes through enhanced efficiency and productivity.