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Managing Work life in the Digital Age

Authors:
Managing
work—life
boundaries
in
the
digital
age
§
Ellen
Ernst
Kossek
‘‘The
nature
of
my
work
requires
me
to
focus
on
my
job
while
I
am
there.
.
.then
because
I
spend
so
much
of
my
time
focused
on
work,
when
I
am
home
I
like
to
keep
that
separate
from
personal
time.
I
generally
do
not
check
e-
mails
when
I
am
home
or
on
vacation.
.
.I
do
have
a
work
phone,
but
I
do
not
get
calls
often
unless
it
is
an
emergency.
.
.I
do
use
my
breaks
during
work
to
handle
personal
matters.’
-Alison,
1
a
separator,
who
has
established
clear
work—life
boundaries
I
am
an
engineer
who
works
for
a
company
that
manu-
factures
bicycles.
It’s
an
industry
I
am
passionate
about,
since
my
main
hobby
is
also
cycling.
Sometimes
it
is
really
hard
to
turn
work
off,
since
I
care
so
much
about
the
product
we
are
producing..
Because
I’ve
got
constant
connectivity,
I
can
work
anywhere,
anytime.
For
example,
if
I’m
going
on
a
plane
to
go
on
vacation,
I’ve
got
my
computer
with
me
and
I
try
to
do
some
work.
When
I’m
on
a
business
trip,
I
test
ride
bikes
as
part
of
my
job,
which
can
blur
work—life
boundaries,
as
even
when
I
am
not
test
riding,
I
often
do
the
same
amount
of
riding
for
relaxation
during
personal
time,
so
it
is
hard
to
separate
personal
from
professional
life.
-Sally
an
integrator,
on
her
blurred
lines
blending
work
and
personal
life.
I’m
a
quality
manager
for
several
plants
located
around
the
country.
I
travel
several
days
each
month
to
do
quality
audits
and
once
done
I
fly
home
as
quickly
as
possible
to
focus
on
family
and
give
them
more
attention.
I’m
flexi-
ble,
a
volleyer.
.
.
I
focus
where
I
need
to
focus
when
I
need
to
focus.
-
Ryan,
a
cycler,
and
also
a
divorced
dad
who
alternates
periods
of
completely
separating
work
from
family
while
traveling,
followed
by
weeks
of
being
the
primary
care-
giver
for
his
daughter
when
not
on
the
road.
What’s
your
work—life
boundary
management
style?
Are
you
a
separator
like
Alison,
striving
for
a
greater
divide
between
work
and
personal
life?
Or
are
you
an
integrator
who
prefers
to
blend
work
and
nonwork
roles,
often
choosing
to
work
during
vacations
or,
perhaps
like
Sally,
selecting
a
career
that
overlaps
with
hobbies
or
personal
life?
Or
maybe
you
or
someone
you
know
is
a
cycler
like
Ryan
who
experi-
ences
recurring
patterns
of
separation
to
focus
on
work
followed
by
intense
work—life
integration.
Cyclers
might
have
jobs
with
seasonal
fluctuations,
such
as
an
accountant
working
busily
during
tax
season,
or
closing
the
books
every
financial
quarter,
followed
by
periods
of
higher
work—life
integration
to
focus
on
personal
life.
Effectively
managing
boundaries
can
help
you
not
only
effectively
balance
your
career
with
your
personal
life
demands,
but
can
also
help
you
be
more
effective
as
a
leader
who
manages
others.
Perhaps
you
have
to
manage
a
wide
diversity
of
work—life
styles
in
your
group
where
individuals
have
many
different
work—life
demands.
Some
of
your
mem-
bers
may
answer
electronic
communications
immediately
regardless
of
the
day
or
time,
while
others
have
tight
limits
on
their
availability,
and
you’re
not
exactly
sure
when
they
will
respond.
What
about
the
style
of
your
employer?
Do
have
a
job
that
could
be
characterized
as
‘‘work
without
boundaries’
in
an
Organizational
Dynamics
(2016)
45,
258—270
§
I
would
like
to
thank
Lauren
Keating,
Peter
Heslin,
Anne
Barodel
and
several
anonymous
reviewers
who
made
helpful
comments
to
improve
the
quality
of
this
paper.
1
*Names
are
pseudonyms.
Available
online
at
www.sciencedirect.com
ScienceDirect
jo
ur
n
al
h
o
mep
ag
e:
www
.elsevier
.co
m
/loc
ate/o
r
gd
yn
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2016.07.010
0090-2616/#
2016
Elsevier
Inc.
All
rights
reserved.
‘‘always
on
workplace’’?
Or
does
your
organization
have
a
work
culture
of
the
‘‘vanishing
vacation
or
weekend’,
where
individuals
are
expected
to
be
on
call
and
constantly
avail-
able
to
work
during
personal
times?
Unfortunately,
work-
places
where
people
work
regular
hours
and
can
completely
disengage
to
focus
on
personal
matters
during
nonwork
time
are
becoming
less
common,
unless
individuals
and
leaders
take
active
steps
to
create
supportive
boundary
management
cultures.
Leaders
and
managers
often
play
a
critical
role
in
championing
work—life
boundaries:
as
role
models
by
how
they
manage
themselves,
by
how
they
manage
the
work—life
diversity
of
others;
and
by
fostering
an
organizational
culture
of
well-being
and
workforce
sustainability.
In
this
article,
I
discuss
the
challenges
leaders
face
in
managing
the
attention,
well-being,
and
energies
of
them-
selves
on
and
off
the
job,
as
well
as
of
their
subordinates,
peers,
and
teams.
I
begin
with
an
introduction
to
managing
boundary
management
styles
a
growing
career
competency
for
personal
and
life
effectiveness.
This
is
followed
by
a
brief
overview
of
trends
making
work—life
boundaries
increasingly
important
for
the
effectiveness
of
individuals,
organizations,
and
society.
I
then
discuss
the
different
types
of
boundary
management
styles.
Yo u
will
have
the
opportunity
to
diagnose
your
style,
understand
its
advantages
and
costs,
and
consider
strategies
to
increase
your
boundary
control.
I
conclude
with
actions
that
leaders
and
organizations
can
take
to
foster
healthy
and
inclusive
boundary
management
environments.
WORK—LIFE
BOUNDARY
MANAGEMENT
STYLES
Work—life
boundary
management
styles
are
the
approaches
people
use
to
demarcate
work
and
nonwork
lives,
in
con-
sideration
of
their
personal
identities
and
boundary
control.
Boundary
control
is
the
degree
to
which
you
control
the
boundaries
between
your
nonwork
and
work
roles.
Bound-
aries
can
be
physical
such
as
being
able
to
block
off
time
periods
where
you
do
not
check
work
email
and
can
be
completely
away
from
your
job.
They
can
also
be
psycholo-
gical
such
as
being
able
to
cognitively
detach
from
your
job
to
focus
on
your
family,
partner,
or
friends;
as
well
as
making
time
to
just
relax.
Finally,
they
can
be
emotional
where
you
can
separate
your
feelings
and
emotions
experienced
during
the
workday
from
your
home
life,
such
as
missing
your
child
or
loved
one;
or
managing
your
mood
by
leaving
a
tough
day
at
the
office
when
you
come
home
to
be
with
family
and
friends.
Why
are
Work—Life
Boundaries
Growing
in
Importance?
National
statistics
in
the
US
suggest
that
growing
numbers
of
employees
around
the
globe
are
feeling
increased
work—life
stress
and
need
improved
strategies
for
managing
work—life
relationships.
For
example,
a
Families
and
Work
Institute
study
reports
that
75%
of
working
parents
say
they
do
not
have
enough
time
for
their
children
(or
each
other).
Further-
more,
although
women
are
in
the
workplace
at
historic
levels,
caregiving
demands
have
not
subsided.
Half
of
all
children
will
live
in
a
single
parent
household
before
the
age
of
18.
Elder
care
is
also
rising
as
the
population
ages
in
many
industrialized
nations
around
the
globe.
Men
also
desire
opportunities
to
integrate
work
and
nonwork,
as
they
are
increasingly
involved
in
caregiving.
Studies
reveal
that
many
men
seek
improved
work—life
balance
as
much
as
women.
Work—life
interest
also
spans
generations.
Despite
often
being
more
connected
than
many
older
workers,
a
study
by
the
IBM
Institute
for
Business
Value
found
that
many
members
of
the
younger
generations
such
as
millennials
value
drawing
a
line
between
work
and
nonwork
to
be
able
to
enjoy
a
life
outside
the
office.
While
most
academic
and
business
scholarship
has
focused
on
work-family
conflict,
my
research
shows
that
managing
work—life
boundaries
can
provide
a
path
to
reduce
role
conflict
and
enhance
the
well-being
of
employees,
teams,
and
organizations.
Effectively
managing
work—life
bound-
aries
can
not
only
reduce
work—life
conflicts,
but
can
also
reduce
stress,
burnout,
addictions,
mood
disorders,
and
enhance
mental
and
physical
health.
Organizations
can
often
benefit
as
effectively
managed
work—life
boundaries
can
lead
to
higher
employee
engagement,
reduced
turnover,
talent
attraction,
a
more
diverse
workforce,
and
reduced
health
care
and
leave
costs,
as
well
as
absenteeism.
Trends
Transforming
Work—Life
Boundaries
Five
trends
in
the
nature
of
work
are
transforming
work—life
relationships,
requiring
greater
attention
to
the
effective
self-management
of
work—life
boundaries.
These
include
the
rise
of
boundarylessness,
work—life
customization,
psycho-
logical
control
over
working
time,
the
fragmentation
of
work-
and
nonwork
interactions,
and
diversity
and
inclusion.
Trend
1:
Boundarylessness.
Work
and
nonwork
roles
are
increasingly
blurred
and
overlapping.
The
proliferation
of
mobile
communication
devices
(laptops,
tablets,
smart
phones)
and
social
media
are
transforming
work
and
nonwork
relationships.
These
changes
have
not
only
made
work
more
portable,
diffusing
into
more
hours
of
the
day,
but
have
also
made
it
easier
to
work
during
personal
time
and
space,
such
as
while
commuting,
when
in
‘third
places’
including
res-
taurants,
and
during
vacations.
Globalized
work
systems
have
also
expanded
the
boundarylessness
of
work
by
increas-
ing
the
times
when
many
employees
are
available
for
work
over
a
24-7
period,
leading
to
more
schedule
variability
and
dispersion
of
work
hours.
For
some
employees
at
workplaces
that
are
‘always
on’
somewhere,
is
it
possible
that
too
much
flexibility
and
blurring
boundaries
has
led
to
a
‘work
without
boundaries
‘culture
where
there
is
too
much
overlap
between
jobs
and
personal
lives?
Trend
2:
Work—life
customization.
This
trend
reflects
the
fact
that
policies
enabling
employees
to
work
nonstan-
dard
and
specialized
hours
has
become
the
new
job
standard.
Organizations
are
offering
a
menu
of
workplace
flexibility
options
providing
employees
with
greater
choice
to
craft
their
working
time.
Historically,
companies
set
relatively
uniform
schedules
for
employees
with
little
choice
allowed.
Today
many
employees
want
and
are
working
in
personally
tailored
ways
to
match
growing
variation
in
preferences
for
flexibility
in
the
location,
scheduling,
amount,
and
timing
of
work.
Parents
of
young
children,
for
example,
sometimes
Managing
work—life
boundaries
in
the
digital
age
259
leave
work
in
the
late
afternoon
to
pick
kids
up
from
school
and
then
continue
working
again
after
dinner.
Single
employ-
ees
might
want
a
sabbatical
for
the
month
of
August
to
sail
in
the
Great
Lakes
or
take
a
trip
to
Asia,
Europe,
or
the
US.
Immigrant
employees
might
want
to
take
a
month
off
at
the
holidays
to
visit
their
families
in
their
home
countries.
Trend
3:
Psychological
control
over
working
time.
Although
companies
may
be
offering
employees
greater
opportunities
to
restructure
their
schedules
or
work
from
home
using
flextime
or
telework
policies,
such
restructuring
doesn’t
necessarily
lead
to
employee
psychological
percep-
tions
of
job
autonomy
and
control
the
ability
to
actually
control
the
boundaries
governing
the
place
and
time
of
work.
There
is
a
tension
between
employees
and
employers
in
socially
navigating
norms
regarding
how
to
implement
flex-
ibility
policies
that
are
formally
provided
by
organizations
and
theoretically
offer
control
on
paper,
compared
to
the
degree
to
which
organizations
actually
give
employees
discretion
to
control
their
boundaries.
Research
is
showing
that
it
is
not
enough
to
merely
have
access
to
workplace
flexibility
policies
that
blur
time
and
space
boundaries
to
experience
boundary
control.
Use
of
formal
flexibility
policies
does
not
necessarily
lead
to
boundary
control
over
when
you
are
‘‘on’’
and
‘off’
work
and
how
you
work.
Employees
may
feel
pressured,
for
example,
to
check
email
or
telework
at
night
or
on
the
weekends,
while
not
formally
establishing
a
telework
arrange-
ment.
They
may
not
choose
to
use
formal
arrangements
during
the
work
day,
as
some
may
fear
they
would
not
be
seen
as
career-oriented.
Yet
they
lack
boundary
control
if
they
are
feeling
pressure
to
be
online
during
personal
time.
Employees
may
also
be
accustomed
to
psychological
control
from
the
workplace.
For
example,
recent
news
articles
report
that
Sunday
evening
has
become
the
new
Monday
morning
for
returning
emails,
being
contacted
by
peers
and
co-workers,
or
checking
to
see
if
there
is
a
Monday
morning
meeting.
Trend
4:
Work—life
fragmentation.
This
trend
highlights
the
fact
that
work
has
become
more
transactional,
short
term,
and
episodic
with
the
increased
use
of
mobile
com-
munication
technologies.
Cell
phones
and
email
have
increased
the
pace
and
frequency
of
work
and
family
inter-
actions
during
the
day.
Historically,
many
people
would
go
to
work
and
focus
on
their
job
with
little
interruption,
and
when
not
at
work,
they
could
focus
on
their
personal
life
by
shutting
off
from
work
during
evenings,
weekends,
and
holi-
days.
Now
there
is
a
rise
in
daily
work—life
interruptions,
with
easy
switching
back
and
forth
between
work
and
per-
sonal
texts,
emails,
and
websites,
often
resulting
in
frag-
mented
and
brief
attention,
and
process
losses
from
lack
of
sustained
focus
on
the
work
or
nonwork
role.
Studies
suggest
that
constant
interruptions
from
communications
can
harm
productivity
by
making
employees
more
likely
to
make
errors
and
reduce
task
flow.
Trend
5:
Diversity
and
inclusion.
A
growing
number
of
employees
hold
increasingly
diverse
identities,
with
work—
life
situations
motivating
them
to
need
and
want
to
blend
work
and
life
in
different
ways
to
manage
social
identities
which
are
culturally
supported
at
work.
It
is
important
for
organizations
to
not
only
formally
offer
workplace
flexibility
policies
and
the
permission
to
customize
schedules
as
sug-
gested
by
the
work—life
customization
trend,
but
to
actively
support
differences
in
boundary
management
styles.
Employ-
ees
need
to
feel
supported
in
how
they
are
managing
work—life
relationships
as
a
diversity
and
inclusion
matter.
For
example,
some
individuals
may
want
to
control
the
degree
to
which
they
disclose
personal
aspects
of
their
life
at
work
until
they
feel
safe
to
be
‘out’
such
as
being
lesbian,
gay,
bi-sexual,
or
transsexual
(LGBT).
People
may
thus
prefer
to
segment
their
work
and
personal
life
and
share
very
little
about
their
nonwork
life
on
the
job.
Conversely,
others
may
be
very
open
that
they
would
not
feel
comfor-
table
working
for
a
company
that
wouldn’t
support
diversity
in
sexual
identity
and
orientation.
Individuals
who
work
in
a
different
time
zone
than
their
family
and
friends
can
foster
a
need
to
integrate
work
and
nonwork
by,
for
instance,
occasionally
Skyping
or
Face-timing
during
work
hours
that
are
the
most
suitable
times
to
connect
with
geographically
distant
family
and
friends.
While
some
employees
would
want
to
hide
the
fact
they
are
making
a
long
personal
call
or
videoconference
during
the
work
day,
others
might
want
to
be
open
that
they
are
connecting
with
family
while
on
the
job.
Geographic
distance
in
living
arrangements
is
also
a
work—
life
diversity
issue.
Some
dual
career
couples
may
have
one
partner
who
needs
to
be
able
to
telework
from
a
different
city
on
Monday
and
Friday
afternoon
or
every
other
week
to
be
able
to
live
with
their
partner,
not
uproot
their
families,
and
not
feel
their
productivity
is
impeded
for
not
maximizing
face
time.
This
arrangement
might
be
very
different
to
their
co-workers’
work
and
living
arrangements.
Given
these
trends,
organizations,
managers,
and
employees
face
numer-
ous
choices
over
determining
the
extent
to
integrate
work—
life
boundaries.
COMPETING
PERSPECTIVES:
IS
INTEGRATION,
SEPARATION,
OR
A
COMBINATION
BEST?
Integration
perspective.
Although
the
idea
that
every
employee
has
a
distinct
boundary
management
style
is
a
relatively
new
area
for
research
and
practice,
it
builds
on
several
existing
competing
historical
perspectives
on
how
to
manage
work
and
family
relationships.
The
integration
per-
spective
argues
that
blending
work
and
nonwork
roles
can
lead
to
positive
outcomes
by
facilitating
flexibility
to
combine
work
and
nonwork
however
works
best
for
the
individual.
Yet
one
challenge
with
this
approach
is
that
employing
organiza-
tions
have
historically
been
characterized
as
‘greedy
work-
places’
consuming
individuals’
personal
time.
This
problem
is
particularly
an
issue
for
individuals
who
highly
identify
with
their
career.
Economic
pressures
are
also
at
play.
Growing
numbers
of
employees
work
face
rising
workloads-
from
those
in
start-ups,
to
others
in
firms
that
laid
off
personnel
during
downturns
and
never
quite
adequately
staffed
up
when
busi-
ness
improved.
In
such
contexts,
work
is
never
quite
done
even
if
you
work
50,
60,
or
even
more
hours
a
week.
With
growth
of
technology
to
facilitate
work-nonwork
integration,
it
is
unclear
whether
the
rise
of
these
‘integrat-
ing’
and
boundary
blurring
devices
(phones,
tablets,
laptops)
are
a
help
or
hindrance
to
work
and
nonwork
well-being.
On
the
one
hand,
a
work
cell
phone
allows
someone
to
take
an
important
phone
call
at
a
soccer
game,
thereby
enabling
attendance
at
that
game.
Yet
this
same
cell
phone
also
makes
it
harder
to
ignore
a
work-related
email
or
not
be
available
for
an
important
call
during
vacation.
260
E.E.
Kossek
The
same
goes
for
connectivity
enabling
nonwork
to
work
spillover;
that
is,
the
physical,
emotional,
or
cognitive
carry-
over
of
personal
life
to
the
job
(e.g.,
being
concerned
about
a
child’s
or
parent’s
health
while
at
work).
Even
when
not
facing
a
medical
issue,
it
is
sometimes
difficult
to
ignore
a
friend’s
more
recent
Facebook
post,
or
not
take
teenagers’
texts
asking
whether
they
can
go
to
a
friend’s
home
after
school,
instead
of
doing
homework.
These
examples
suggest
that
contrary
to
some
suggestions
in
the
popular
life-balance
literature,
‘integrating’
boundaries
may
not
necessarily
lead
to
reduced
work—life
conflict.
Indeed,
too
much
inte-
gration
can
actually
increase
such
conflict!
Blurring
boundaries
via
work—life
integration
can
also
lead
to
‘job
creep,’
where
an
individual’s
job
creeps
or
spreads
into
personal
life.
This
can
result
in
what
is
known
as
‘overwork,’
or
working
more
than
is
desirable
for
well-
being,
with
too
much
integration.
Too
much
boundary
blurring
may
lead
to
challenging
working
style
choices,
like
trying
to
do
quality
work
on
a
critical
work
project
at
the
last
minute
while
watching
the
Super
Bowl
or
the
World
Cup
on
television.
Of
course,
a
benefit
of
being
able
to
integrate
is
that
the
individual
doesn’t
have
to
completely
miss
out
on
time
with
family
friends,
or
the
game.
How-
ever,
it
often
takes
longer
to
finish
the
work
project,
and
an
over-preoccupation
with
work
can
spoil
many
opportu-
nities
to
be
truly
present
for
meaningful
moments
in
personal
life.
Separation
perspective.
In
contrast
to
the
integration
perspective,
separation
emphasizes
that
many
individuals
need
role
clarity
in
order
to
focus
on
the
role
at
hand,
given
limited
psychological
resources
such
as
time
and
energy.
Such
research
suggests
that
being
fully
focused
on
each
domain
(e.g.,
completely
attending
to
work
when
at
work,
or
focusing
on
nonwork
matters
when
off
the
job)
and
keeping
them
segmented
can
reduce
dysfunctional
cross-
domain
interruptions
and
work—family
conflict.
It
also
enables
people
to
more
easily
psychologically
detach
from
the
other
domain
(e.g.,
not
think
about
work
when
at
home,
in
order
to
recover
mentally
and
be
able
to
completely
transition
to
the
domain
in
which
one
intends
to
focus).
Researchers
supporting
separation
of
work
and
nonwork
roles
argue
that
this
approach
is
helpful
for
high
quality
role
experiences
and
avoiding
work—family
conflicts.
Separation
enables
people
to
focus
exclusively
on
the
work
realm
or
the
nonwork
realm
without
competing
pressures.
Scholars
argue
that
some
individuals
have
psychological
preferences
for
work
detachment
to
enhance
well-being.
Studies
show
that
having
some
separation
helps
many
people
recover
from
work
and
also
improves
mental
and
physical
health,
as
well
as
sleep
quality.
Separation
between
work
and
nonwork
was
for
many
decades
the
norm
in
most
workplaces
where
employers
set
standardized
work
schedules
such
as
from
9
a.m.
to
5
p.m.
for
employees.
Yet
separation
may
not
work
for
everyone
or
indeed
many
people,
and
can
make
individuals
captive
to
employer
dictated
work-scheduling
and
organiza-
tion
regimes.
It
can
also
reinforce
gender
roles,
where
women
and
men
who
focus
on
domestic
tasks
may
find
it
hard
to
also
engage
in
breadwinning.
Workers
engaged
in
caregiving,
homemaking,
or
community
volunteering
may
also
face
barriers
in
workplaces
that
do
not
allow
for
some
integration.
Continual
separation
from
work
when
at
home
may
often
not
be
realistic.
Many
people
have
long
commutes,
constant
demands
to
keep
up
with
monitoring
work
emails
and
texts,
and
the
expectation
to
answer
them
to
show
conscientious-
ness,
particularly
if
coworkers
do
so.
Similarly,
a
single
parent
at
work
cannot
easily
separate
from
day
care
contact
while
working
during
a
case
of
child
illness
or
a
school
snow
day.
It
may
be
overly
simplistic
to
argue
that
separating
is
always
best;
or
integrating
is
preferable.
Managing
work—life
boundaries
involves
multiple
aspects
of
people’s
complex
lives.
Neither
strategy
in
isolation
may
be
a
way
to
reduce
work—life
conflict.
Effective
work—life
strategies
vary
depending
on
an
individuals’
configuration
of
identities,
behaviors,
and
level
of
boundary
control
over
job
and
home
contexts.
Synthesizing
the
integration
and
separation
perspectives.
Historically,
many
work—family
studies
emphasize
a
single
‘variable
approach’
to
capturing
work—life
styles
that
is,
individuals’
styles
typically
were
studied
with
one
measure
at
a
time,
measuring
a
single
point
in
time,
implying
that
people
either
separated
or
integrated
roles.
Another
approach
to
such
research
was
for
an
indivi-
dual
to
assess
how
central
work
is
to
them.
If
s/he
rated
him
or
herself
as
highly
work-oriented,
researchers
generally
assumed
that
s/he
cannot
also
be
nonwork
or
family-
oriented.
Yet
my
research
shows
that
many
individuals
today,
especially
women
and
growing
numbers
of
men,
are
dual
centric
and
synthesize
their
identities
in
styles
across
multi-
ple,
linked
aspects
of
their
lives.
This
means
they
have
high
identification
with
both
their
work
and
nonwork
roles.
Given
this,
a
single
measure
of
how
much
people
identify
with
work
or
nonwork
roles
may
not
capture
the
complexity
of
their
boundary
management
style
as
some
individuals
do
regularly
shift
patterns
of
boundary
management
style.
This
is
because
some
people
work
or
live
in
contexts
where
they
may
be
engaged
in
both
separation
and
integration
on
a
recurring
basis.
An
example
would
be
a
parent
who
is
firm
on
separating
and
not
checking
email
or
working
on
weekends
to
focus
on
family,
but
who
regularly
integrates
work
and
nonwork
on
weekdays
by
teleworking
each
night
after
dinner
after
put-
ting
children
to
bed.
We
also
found
from
interviewing
people
that
some
would
say,
‘‘Yes ,
I
integrate
but
I
don’t
control
this
strategy.
I
would
really
like
more
separation
but
my
job
or
family
situation
doesn’t
allow
me
to
have
much
control
over
my
life
strategy.
I
have
a
job
where
I
am
on
call
on
the
week-
ends,
and
there
is
no
way
I
can
separate
from
work,
for
example,
even
when
I
am
only
supposed
to
be
off.’’
One
example
of
this
situation
involves
public
social
workers
who
had
to
be
readily
available
to
‘‘call
in’
to
respond
to
a
report
of
child
neglect.
Even
though
they
were
not
formally
scheduled
to
work
on
the
weekend,
they
were
‘‘on
call’
and
forced
to
monitor
work
calls
even
while
mowing
the
lawn.
They
could
not
entirely
separate
or
detach
from
work
even
if
they
wanted
to
as
the
design
of
their
jobs
afforded
low
boundary
control.
In
sum,
we
found
that
an
individuals’
boundary
management
style
reflects
their
particular
com-
bination
of
these
five
factors:
their
level
of
boundary
con-
trol,
cross-role
interruption
behaviors,
how
they
synthesize
work—life
identities,
their
technological
dependence,
and
need
for
time
for
self.
Managing
work—life
boundaries
in
the
digital
age
261
BOUNDARY
MANAGEMENT
STYLES:
A
BRIEF
SURVEY
TOOL
AND
OVERVIEW
In
this
section,
I
provide
a
brief
survey
tool,
(see
Table
1)
that
can
help
you
understand
your
boundary
management
style.
Of
course,
precisely
measuring
your
style
may
require
a
longer
psychological
assessment,
but
these
questions
give
you
a
good
baseline.
In
Table
2,
I
define
the
factors
that
are
included
and
how
to
interpret
your
ratings.
Below
I
define
each
factor
and
how
they
relate
to
a
typology
of
boundary
management
styles
based
on
these
items,
each
with
a
higher
and
lower
control
subtype,
and
some
of
the
advantages
and
costs
of
each
style.
Boundary
control.
The
first
factor,
boundary
control,
refers
to
the
extent
to
which
you
perceive
that
you
are
in
control
of
how
you
manage
the
boundaries
between
your
work
life
and
personal
life.
Early
research
on
boundary
manage-
ment
typically
asked
people
to
rate
how
they
managed
boundaries
without
separating
out
perceived
boundary
con-
trol.
This
was
problematic
as
what
individuals
do
in
life
is
not
always
their
choice.
If
you
have
an
inflexible
job
where
you
are
expected
to
take
calls
from
overseas
in
the
middle
of
the
night,
you
have
little
boundary
control
over
when
you
work.
Or
if
you
are
a
single
parent
or
the
only
caregiver
for
an
elderly
parent,
living
far
away
from
your
relatives,
with
no
family
or
professional
backup,
you
may
also
have
little
boundary
control
between
work
and
personal
life
as
you
must
be
available
for
nonwork
to
work
interruptions
whenever
needed.
For
exam-
ple,
if
your
child
or
parent
needs
to
go
to
the
doctor,
you
must
always
be
able
to
interrupt
work
and
adjust
work
schedules
in
order
to
care
for
your
family.
In
contrast,
a
colleague
that
has
local
support
from
family
and
friends
for
care
assistance
or
limited
care
demands,
can
regularly
assume
she
can
work
as
long
as
desired
without
interruptions.
Boundary
control
is
also
key
to
shaping
personal
out-
comes.
Generally
low
boundary
control
results
in
lower
well-being.
Indeed,
studies
consistently
show
that
people
who
feel
in
control
of
their
life
situations
have
better
psy-
chological
and
physical
health,
as
well
as
overall
well-being.
Cross-Role
Work—Nonwork
Interruption
Behaviors
The
second
factor
relates
to
how
you
manage
work
to
non-
work
interruptions.
There
are
three
main
types:
integrators,
separators,
and
cyclers.
Each
of
these
have
subtypes
vary
in
the
degree
of
perceived
control
over
boundary
crossing
between
work
and
nonwork.
Integrators.
Do
you
have
a
high
frequency
of
work
to
nonwork
interruption
behaviors
and/or
a
high
frequency
of
nonwork
to
work
interruptions?
For
example,
do
you
check
work
emails
often
at
home,
even
when
not
required
by
your
boss?
Do
you
also
often
check
personal
emails
or
texts
at
work
throughout
the
day?
If
so,
you
are
probably
an
integrator.
There
are
two
types
of
integrators;
if
you
are
a
high
control
integrator,
then
you
are
a
Fusion
lover
someone
who
chooses
and
enjoys
integrating.
If
you
are
a
low
boundary
control
integrator,
you
are
reactor.
Reactors
often
feel
they
are
putting
out
fires
and
responding
to
both
work
and
non-
work
demands
and
often
constantly
juggling
competing
demands.
Reactors
prefer
more
separation,
as
the
lack
of
control
diminishes
their
well-being.
Separators.
Perhaps
you
tend
to
have
a
low
frequency
of
both
work-to-nonwork
and
nonwork-to-work
interruptions,
such
as
rarely
taking
a
work
call
at
home
or
a
home
call
at
work.
Then
you
are
likely
a
separator.
There
are
two
types
of
separators.
High
control
separators
are
dividers.
If
you
are
this
type,
then
you
are
able
to
give
each
role
its
priority
by
focusing
on
work
when
at
work
and
your
home
life
when
at
home.
If
you
are
a
low
control
separator,
you
might
be
a
captive,
an
individual
who
is
forced
to
separate.
An
example
Table
1
Work—Life
Boundary
Management
Mini-
Self-
Assessment:
What’s
Your
Style?
Sample
Items:
Strongly
Disagree
1
Disagree
2
Neither
Agree
Nor
Disagree
3
Agree
4
Strongly
Agree
5
1.
Boundary
Control:
I
control
whether
I
am
able
to
keep
my
work
and
personal
life
separate.
2.
Cross-Role
Interruption
Behaviors
A.
Nonwork
to
work
interruption
behaviors:
I
take
care
of
personal
or
family
needs
during
work.
B.
Work
to
nonwork
interruption
behaviors:
I
work
during
my
personal
or
family
time.
3.
Career-Family
Identities
A.
Work
Centric:
I
invest
a
large
part
of
myself
in
my
work.
B.
Family
Centric:
I
invest
a
large
part
of
myself
in
my
family.
4.
Needing
time
for
self:
Finding
time
for
myself
is
important
to
my
overall
quality
of
life.
5.
Technological
Dependence:
I
check
my
computer
or
hand-held
device
as
soon
as
I
see
or
hear
that
a
new
message
has
arrived.
262
E.E.
Kossek
would
be
an
employee
who
works
in
a
customer
facing
job,
such
as
in
food
service
that
precludes
taking
calls
from
his
or
her
child
while
at
work
to
be
able
to
confirm
the
child
got
home
from
school.
Cyclers.
Perhaps
you
are
neither
of
these
pure
styles.
Instead,
you
separate
during
some
weeks
or
time
of
the
year
and
other
times
regularly
integrate
work
and
nonwork.
If
so,
then
you
are
a
cycler.
Teachers
and
professors
are
often
Table
2
Boundary
Management:
Definitions
of
the
Five
Work—Life
Factors
and
Interpreting
Your
Score
Work—Life
Factor
Definition
Interpretation
1.
Boundary
Control
The
degree
to
which
you
feel
in
control
as
you
manage
the
boundaries
between
your
work
life
and
nonwork
life.
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
suggest
lower
control
-
3
suggests
medium
control
-
4
or
5
indicate
higher
control
If
you
have
high
to
moderate
boundary
control
you
tend
to
feel
in
control
of
your
interruption
behaviors.
If
you
have
low
boundary
control,
you
do
not
feel
in
control
of
interruption
behaviors.
2.
Cross-
Role
Work—Nonwork
Interruption
Behaviors
A.
Nonwork
to
Work
Interruptions
The
degree
to
which
you
engage
in
cross-domain
boundary
crossing
interruption
behaviors
for
nonwork
to
work
roles
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
indicate
you
have
low
nonwork
to
work
interruptions
-
3
suggests
moderate
interruptions
-
4
or
indicate
5
higher
interruptions
from
nonwork
to
work
If
you
have
low
interruptions
for
both
nonwork
to
work
and
work
to
nonwork
you
are
a
separator
If
you
have
high
interruptions
for
both
nonwork
to
work
and
work
to
nonwork
you
are
an
integrator.
If
you
have
work—
life
patterns
that
vary
and
include
periods
of
integration
followed
by
separation
in
a
recurring
pattern
you
may
be
a
cycler.
B.
Work
to
Nonwork
Interruption
Behaviors
The
degree
to
which
you
engage
in
cross-domain
boundary
crossing
interruption
behaviors
for
nonwork
to
work
roles
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
indicate
you
have
low
work
to
nonwork
interruptions
-
3
suggests
moderate
interruptions
-
4
or
indicate
5
higher
interruptions
from
work
to
nonwork
If
you
have
high
interruptions
from
work
to
nonwork
but
low
interruptions
from
nonwork
to
work
you
are
a
work
firster.
If
you
have
high
interruptions
from
nonwork
to
work
but
low
interruptions
from
work
to
nonwork
you
are
a
family
firster.
3.
Career—Family
Identity
Centralities
The
degree
to
which
your
identity
is
work-centric,
family-centric,
dual-
centric,
or
neither
family-
or
career-centric
but
some
other
avocation.
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
indicate
lower
role
centrality
for
a
particular
identity
being
rated
(e.g.,
work
identity,
or
family
identity)
-
3
medium
role
centrality
-
4
or
5
higher
role
centrality
People
high
on
work
identity
but
lower
on
family
identity
are
work
centric.
People
high
on
family
identity
but
lower
on
work
identity
are
family
centric.
People
higher
on
both
work
and
family
identities
are
dual-centric.
Those
lower
on
work
and
family
centrality
may
identify
highly
with
roles
other
than
work
or
family.
4.
Needing
Time
for
Self
The
degree
to
which
you
perceive
having
time
for
yourself
is
important
for
well-being.
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
indicate
lower
need
for
time
for
self
for
well-being
-
3
moderate
need
-
4
or
5
higher
need
People
who
rate
higher
on
this
scale
must
have
time
to
recover
from
both
work
and
family
demands
in
order
to
have
well-
being.
5.
Technological
Dependence
The
degree
to
which
you
are
dependent
on
mobile
communication
devices.
Ratings
of:
-
1
or
2
indicate
lower
dependence
-
3
moderate
-
4
or
5
is
higher
dependence
People
who
rate
higher
this
item
tend
to
be
highly
dependent
on
their
personal
communication
technological
devices.
Managing
work—life
boundaries
in
the
digital
age
263
cyclers
driven
by
the
intense
start-up
of
the
school
year
and
intense
shut
down
period
of
exam
grading.
Retailers
also
tend
to
be
cyclers
with
the
peaks
of
holiday
shopping
and
the
slack
of
January.
These
are
just
a
few
examples
of
the
many
professions
that
can
prompt
employees
to
be
cyclers.
Most
cyclers
experience
prolonged
separation
between
work
and
nonwork
during
habitual
peak
work
times,
with
these
moun-
tains
of
work
followed
by
periods
of
higher
work—life
inte-
gration.
During
these
times,
cyclers
then
focus
on
friends
or
partners
they
did
not
have
time
to
be
with
during
peak
work
periods,
or
family
such
as
parents
with
children
during
summer
or
school
breaks.
Someone
can
also
cycle
weekly
to
allow
for
involvement
in
nonprofits
or
exercise,
such
as
regularly
leaving
mid-day
on
Thursdays
to
volunteer
at
a
charity,
or
to
play
in
a
tennis
league
for
a
few
hours,
and
then
working
from
home
the
rest
of
the
afternoon.
Other
examples
of
cyclers
involve
cycles
of
living
arrange-
ments.
For
example,
perhaps
a
married
couple
has
jobs
in
cities
located
several
hours
apart.
Living
apart
and
focusing
on
work
from
Monday
through
Thursday
separates
work
and
nonwork,
yet
on
Fridays
they
both
telework
integrating
work—life
boundaries
in
order
to
be
together.
Another
exam-
ple
is
someone
who
is
divorced
and
has
shared
custody
children
whose
parental
custody
alternates
every
week.
Some
weeks
an
individual
would
separate
to
focus
on
work
and,
during
other
weeks,
they
would
engage
in
high
integra-
tion
juggling
school
schedules
and
caring
for
children
along-
side
their
job
demands
every
day.
Still
another
example
includes
individuals
with
jobs
that
require
cycles
of
travel
followed
by
periods
of
nontravel.
For
example,
individuals
who
work
on
off-shore
rigs
or
mines
(often
men)
might
have
jobs
that
are
three
week
on
where
they
might
be
too
busy
to
spend
time
with
their
families
(and
even
live
away
from
them),
followed
by
three
weeks
off
at
work.
There
are
two
main
types
of
cyclers—quality
timers
and
job
warriors.
Quality
timers
are
able
to
both
separate
to
focus
on
work
or
family
when
needed,
as
well
as
integrate
when
their
dual
roles
demand
this.
In
many
workshops
I
have
led,
working
parents
with
toddlers
identify
themselves
as
cyclers
trying
to
carve
out
focused
quality
time
and
yet
needing
to
integrate
work
and
nonwork
roles
when
working.
Another
type
of
cycler
has
lower
control:
job
warriors,
individuals
who
have
constant
recurring
cycles
of
heavy
job
peaks
that
wear
them
out
and
they
become
overcom-
mitted
to
work
demands
for
lingering
periods
of
time.
Even
when
their
jobs
have
a
lull,
it
may
never
be
quite
long
enough
to
fully
recover,
as
these
individuals
often
lack
control
over
either
the
timing,
amount,
or
nature
of
work.
For
example,
professors
may
lack
control
over
the
end
of
the
term
peak
work
demands
of
wrapping
up
teaching
their
classes
and
grading,
together
with
their
research
and
administration
duties.
Hybrids:
Role
Firsters.
Finally,
there
is
also
a
hybrid
subtype
of
how
people
respond
to
interruptions,
where
some
are
asymmetrical;
that
is,
interruptions
in
one
direc-
tion
but
not
another.
What
determines
which
role
(e.g.,
work)
crosses
over
to
interrupt
another
(e.g.
nonwork)
depends
on
which
role
is
more
important
to
a
person’s
identity.
For
example,
depending
on
whether
one
is
work
centric,
family
centric,
or
nonwork
centric
(e.g.,
a
tri-
athlete;
key
church
volunteer),
this
individual
would
reg-
ularly
engage
in
patterns
of
separating
to
protect
the
role
with
which
they
have
highest
identification.
This
tends
to
involve
placing
that
role
first
in
priority
and
acting
to
guard
that
role
from
interruptions;
while
at
the
same
time
being
very
open
to
let
demands
from
the
primary
role
cross
over
to
take
over
time
and
energy
from
other
life
roles.
Being
a
firster
involves
putting
one
primary
role
over
another
in
a
manner
that
shapes
choices
over
whether
and
how
to
inter-
rupt
roles
and
engage
in
boundary
crossing
behaviors.
There
are
three
types
of
firsters.
Family
firsters
put
their
family
needs
over
their
job
nearly
all
the
time.
A
family
firster
is
someone
who
rarely
allows
work
interruptions
to
enter
into
family
time,
yet
regularly
interrupts
work
time
when
needed
to
manage
family
demands.
They
risk
having
family
creep
into
their
job
and
may
face
the
midlife
realization
that
they
have
sacrificed
themselves
so
much
for
family
that
they
cannot
catch
up
in
their
careers.
Work
firsters
put
their
work
schedule
first
and
let
work
creep
into
personal
lives,
but
have
few
personal
life
inter-
ruptions
at
work.
If
you
are
a
work
firster,
you
may
need
to
take
active
steps
to
avoid
the
risk
of
becoming
a
workaholic.
My
research
shows
that
work
firsters
have
lower
perceptions
of
well-being
and
that
they
have
poorer
perceived
fit
between
work
and
personal
life.
A
third
type
of
firster
is
a
nonwork
eclectic.
This
style
involves
placing
your
personal
life
ahead
of
work
or
family,
perhaps
by
being
highly
engaged
in
your
church,
a
hobby,
focusing
a
lively
social
life,
or
some
other
avocation
like
a
start-up
business
separate
from
your
‘real
job.’
Work
and
Family
Identity
Centralities
The
third
factor
of
boundary
management
is
your
career
and
nonwork
identity
centralities.
Balance
means
different
things
to
different
people
and
it
depends
on
what
you
most
value
in
life.
You
may
be
work-centric,
family-centric,
dual-
centric,
or
other
nonwork-centric
(someone
who
identifies
most
with
an
avocation
like
a
nonprofit,
or
hobby
more
than
your
job
or
family.)
If
you
are
work
centric,
you
focus
time
and
energy
on
the
work
role,
as
that
is
what
drives
your
identity.
Family
centric
individuals
make
career
decisions
that
are
virtually
always
family
first.
Just
because
someone
is
family-centric
or
work-centric,
however,
it
doesn’t
mean
that
they
don’t
value
their
jobs
or
families.
A
family-centric
person
is
not
necessarily
a
bad
employee,
nor
is
a
work-
centric
person
necessarily
a
poor
family
member.
It
just
means
that
these
individuals
draw
most
of
their
identity
and
life
validation
from
excelling
in
the
role
for
which
they
have
highest
centrality.
Employees
who
identify
with
both
work
and
family
are
dual
centric,
a
tendency
that
is
increasingly
common.
When
people
are
dual
centric,
they
constantly
strive
to
give
their
best
to
each
work
and
nonwork
role.
Employees
thrive
when
their
employer
or
manager
does
not
force
them
to
choose
between
excelling
at
their
jobs
or
excelling
in
their
family
and
personal
life.
Technological
Dependence
Recently
I
have
validated
two
new
scales
to
reflect
changing
work
life
developments.
Table
1
presents
an
illustrative
item
264
E.E.
Kossek
from
a
‘Technological
Dependence’
scale
regarding
the
degree
to
which
you
are
constantly
connected
to
a
personal
technology
communication
device.
As
expected,
integrators
have
higher
technological
dependence
than
separators.
My
research
shows
that
graduate
students
have
the
highest
technological
dependence,
higher
than
undergraduates
or
employees.
Many
are
juggling
school
jobs
and
families
or
partners.
If
you
are
too
connected
to
technology,
you
risk
also
being
bogged
down
by
TASW
Technology
Assisted
Supplemental
Work
whereby
the
communication
devices
that
are
sup-
posed
to
provide
time
savings
and
facilitate
work
efficiency
can
often
increase
work
demands.
For
example,
by
having
your
phone
available
on
the
weekends
makes
it
easier
for
colleagues
to
contact
you
during
nonwork
time
when
you
might
be
trying
to
relax.
Need
Time
for
Self
The
‘Need
Time
for
Self’
measure
captures
the
degree
to
which
you
need
to
carve
out
regular
personal
time
for
yourself,
in
order
to
foster
positive
mental
health
and
well-being.
If
you
feel
you
do
not
have
time
to
develop
friendships
outside
of
work,
exercise,
or
just
relax
to
take
care
of
yourself,
particularly
if
you
place
a
high
value
on
needing
time
for
self,
you
are
unlikely
to
have
healthy
work—
life
boundaries.
The
inclusion
of
a
‘Need
Time
for
Self’
scale
in
boundary
management
assessment
provides
a
more
fine-
grained
analysis
of
nonwork
time,
and
better
captures
the
fact
that
nonwork
time
is
often
divided
between
family
time
(which
is
a
commitment
even
for
both
single
and
married
people
as
most
have
parents
and
relatives),
and
also
personal
time
for
self.
RATING
YOUR
APPROACH:
WHAT’S
YOUR
WORK—LIFE
BOUNDARY
STYLE?
Having
taken
the
survey,
scored
yourself,
and
reviewed
the
definitions
of
each
of
the
five
factors,
now
turn
to
table
3
to
see
the
pros
and
cons
of
your
style.
Remember,
separators
generally
have
low
interruption
behaviors
back
and
forth
between
work
and
personal
life.
In
contrast,
integrators,
regularly
engage
in
medium
to
high
interruption
behaviors
between
work
and
nonwork
(perhaps
checking
Facebook
and
personal
social
media
periodically
while
at
work)
and
monitoring
work
commu-
nications
when
at
home
at
night.
Cyclers
have
varying
patterns
of
different
boundary
interruption
styles,
some-
times
highly
separating
and
sometimes
highly
integrating.
For
example,
a
teacher
may
have
limited
work
contact
during
the
summer
months,
but
integrate
work
and
perso-
nal
life
constantly
during
the
school
year.
Firsters
tend
to
have
an
imbalanced
pattern
of
interruptions
from
one
domain
to
another.
A
work
firster
typically
takes
a
lot
of
job
communications
during
nonwork
time,
but
has
few
nonwork
interruptions
when
on
the
job.
In
contrast,
a
family
or
nonwork
firster
has
the
reverse
pattern,
with
lots
of
nonwork
contacts
during
working
time,
and
little
work
boundary
blurring
when
not
on
<