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A classification of organizational interventions to enable detachment from work



Negative effects of extensive connectivity to work through excessive use of technology have yielded discussions about the right to disconnect for employees. Organizations are beginning to introduce interventions that aim at enabling their employees to detach from work (i.e., refrain from work-related thoughts and activities during non-work hours). However, there is limited academic research on how organizations should introduce interventions that lead to a successful disconnection of their employees. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review and reports on companies' best practices, this study proposes a classification of organizational interventions based on the level, target, and mechanism of the intervention. I include the theory of psychological detachment to propose a measurement of the success of an intervention. The classification provides researchers and practitioners with a common framework to develop and evaluate interventions aimed at fostering employees' disconnection from work.
ISBN 978-961-286-362-3
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1 University of Muenster, Department of Information Systems, Muenster, Germany,
Abstract Negative effects of extensive connectivity to work
through excessive use of technology have yielded discussions
about the right to disconnect for employees. Organizations are
beginning to introduce interventions that aim at enabling their
employees to detach from work (i.e., refrain from work-related
thoughts and activities during non-work hours). However, there
is limited academic res
earch on how organizations should
introduce interventions that lead to a successful disconnection of
their employees. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review
and reports on companies’ best practices, this study proposes a
classification of organizational interventions based on the level,
target, and mechanism of the intervention. I include the theory
of psychological detachment to propose a measurement of the
success of an intervention. The classification provides
researchers and practitioners with
a common framework to
develop and evaluate interventions aimed at fostering employees’
disconnection from work.
1 Introduction
Information and communication technology (ICT) affords employees with high
levels of autonomy to decide how, when and where they work. ‘Nomadic workers’
(Cousins & Robey, 2005) work from a client’s site, a hotel room or from home
instead of from a traditional office. The flexible work environment also leads to
extended availability for work which has negative effects on the employees’ well-
being (Dettmers, Bamberg, & Seffzek, 2016) and the organization (e.g., Ferguson et
al., 2016). Although companies increasingly expect this near 24/7 availability and sell
it as part of their service (Mazmanian & Erickson, 2014), the negative effects have
alarmed managers and human resource departments. As a result, organizations and
governments are discussing the introduction of “the right to disconnect”
(Hesselberth, 2018). France has been the first country that enacted a law regulating
employees’ availability after work-hours (Hesselberth, 2018). Companies such as
Volkswagen (VW) and Daimler have reduced their employees’ availability through
banning emails after regular business hours or deleting emails during the holiday
(Smith, 2017).
As companies are only recently dealing with the dark side of extensive connectivity,
research on organizational interventions is limited. Until now, there is no systematic
way of comparing disconnectivity interventions and assessing their success. This
paper develops a classification of those interventions to assist organizations in
identifying the most effective intervention for their employees and their
organizational culture. Drawing on the theory of psychological detachment
(Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015), I discuss the likelihood of success of disconnectivity
interventions. To my knowledge, this paper is the first that applies psychological
detachment as a theoretical frame to organizational interventions that target the right
to disconnect. It paves the way for an empirical validation of the classification that
provides researchers and practitioners with a framework to develop, compare and
evaluate these interventions. It further extends the limited research on employees’
strategies for coping with extensive connectivity by considering strategies with that
organizations can support their employees’ detachment from work.
J. Mattern:
A Classification of Organizational Interventions to Enable Detachment from Work
2 Theoretical Background
2.1 Connectivity
In the political and organizational discourse, the right to disconnect has been
understood in terms of disconnecting from work-related technology (Hesselberth,
2018). However, connectivity covers more than the mere technical connection to
work. Researchers understand connectivity in various ways, for example as a
technical connection to a device (Al-Dabbagh, Scornavacca, Sylvester, & Johnstone,
2015), extending working hours (Dettmers et al., 2016), the internal need of being
connected to others (Bayer, Campbell, & Ling, 2016), or an organizational norm of
24/7 availability (Mazmanian & Erickson, 2014). I understand connectivity as the
technical and social connection to work (i.e., the technical capability to access work
whenever and wherever; and the social environment that expects and drives an
extended availability to work). Connectivity is the socio-technical potential for
information and communication and the manifest practices that emerge upon this
Extensive connectivity is an elevated, nearly constant level of this connectivity. It
can lead to emotional exhaustion (Xie, Ma, Zhou, & Tang, 2018), prolonged thinking
about work (Cropley & Zijlstra, 2011), work-life conflicts (Ferguson et al., 2016) and
an inability to detach from work (Derks, van Mierlo, & Schmitz, 2014). These
individual effects are mirrored in negative organizational outcomes. For example,
using a mobile device for work during family time is associated with higher burnout
rates and less organizational commitment (Ferguson et al., 2016). Well-being and
recovery are important factors for the employees productivity (Binnewies,
Sonnentag, & Mojza, 2010). Organizations are therefore increasingly concerned
regarding the connectivity practices of their employees and seek applications of the
“right to disconnect”.
2.2 The Right to Disconnect
Until today, France is the only country that has introduced a law for supporting
employees’ disconnection decisions. The law demands the enactment of “modalities
by which employees exercise their rights to disconnect, and the setting up of
company regulations on digital devices and tools” (Secunda, 2019, p. 28). It remains
unspecific, in that it neither prescribes explicit interventions nor specifies fines for
incompliance (Von Bergen & Bressler, 2019).
While the French law provides employers with much room for interpretation,
Germany has not introduced a law at all but is relying on voluntary self-regulation
policies of employers (Secunda, 2019). As a result, German companies introduced
specific measures that enable their employees to disconnect. VW reacted early in
2011, when they banned emails to company-provided smartphones after regular
working hours. Their competitors Daimler and Porsche followed with similar
regulations (Smith, 2017).
These examples demonstrate the challenge to define the degree of specification of
disconnectivity measures. France enacted an unspecific law that could be ignored by
employers due to the inexistence of fines. The specific German interventions might
lead to even more stress for some employees due to not accounting for
interindividual differences in the preference for work-life integration (Von Bergen
& Bressler, 2019). As a one-size-fits-all approach is difficult, if not impossible, to
develop, it is necessary to consider differences between companies, contexts, and
individuals. Furthermore, an evaluation of the success of these interventions in terms
of a comprehensive disconnection from work is important for the development and
budgeting of further interventions. To date, organizational disconnectivity
interventions mostly target the technical connection to work although connectivity
also covers social expectations of extended availability and responsiveness. A
successful intervention should therefore consider both, the physical disconnection
as well as the emotional and mental disconnection from work. Psychological
detachment (Park, Fritz, & Jex, 2011) provides a measurement of a successful
2.3 Psychological Detachment
The theory of psychological detachment explains that demanding work conditions
(e.g. time pressure, work overload) lead to strain reactions (e.g. increased heart rate,
impaired well-being) (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015). Individuals can only recover from
work when they are not exposed to these stressors (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015).
Psychological detachment is defined as “refraining from job-related activities and
mentally disengaging from work during nonwork time” (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015,
J. Mattern:
A Classification of Organizational Interventions to Enable Detachment from Work
p. 72). This definition emphasizes the importance of both, the physical and the
psychological facet of switching-off. The physical dimension refers to being absent
from work. This includes not only staying away from the office or desk but also not
answering work-related emails on the mobile phone during nonwork time or not
taking the work notebook on holidays. The psychological dimension refers to stop
thinking about work after work hours. Psychological detachment is one of the best
researched recovery strategies and relationships to job-related outcomes and
psychological well-being have been empirically supported (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015;
Wendsche & Lohmann-Haislah, 2017).
The detachment literature has identified antecedents of a successful detachment
(Wendsche & Lohmann-Haislah, 2017) and has been increasingly included in
discourses on technology-enabled extended availability for work (Cambier, Derks,
& Vlerick, 2019; Park et al., 2011). Research has found that detachment strategies
can be trained and thereby integrated into an individual’s daily routine (Hahn,
Binnewies, Sonnentag, & Mojza, 2011). Researchers therefore called for
organizational policies that support individual detachment strategies (Cambier et al.,
In the following paragraphs, I discuss different types of interventions and develop a
classification that helps to identify which type is likely to be successful for which
situation and company. Successful in this context means a comprehensive
detachment from work, physically as well as mentally.
3 Developing a Classification of Disconnectivity Interventions
Organizational interventions are “planned, behavioral, theory-based actions that aim
to improve employee health and well-being through changing the way work is
designed, organized and managed” (Nielsen, 2013, p. 1030). As detachment refers
to both, disconnecting from physical stressors (i.e. organization and design of work)
and mental stressors, interventions should also include changing the way work is
experienced by the individual.
3.1 Method
Based on a literature review on existing taxonomies of organizational interventions,
I collected dimensions and classes of organizational interventions that have been
identified previously. By applying them to the definition of connectivity, I selected
those who are relevant in the context of an intervention that enables employees’
detachment and developed an initial classification. In the last step, I analyzed
interventions that have been already introduced (e.g. VW, Daimler, Porsche)
according to the initial classification. I refined the dimensions and classes and
developed the final classification. It is important to note here, that the classification
represents a first attempt to systematize detachment interventions. Empirical data
has to validate the classification.
I develop a classification based on three dimensions: the level at which the
intervention occurs, the specific connectivity facet that the intervention targets, and
the mechanism through which the intervention works.
3.2 Level Individual or Organizational
A highly cited intervention taxonomy distinguishes four levels on that organizational
interventions occur: legislative and policy level, employer and organization level, job
and task level, individual and interface level (Murphy & Sauter, 2004). As the purpose
of this paper is to evaluate organizational interventions, I focus on the employer and
organization level. Employer interventions can be further distinguished into
interventions targeting the whole organization and interventions targeting the
individual employee (Martin, Karanika-Murray, Biron, & Sanderson, 2016). At the
organizational level, interventions shape working conditions and psychosocial
factors. At the individual level, interventions aid employees in responding to
stressors (Martin et al., 2016). With interventions at the organizational level,
management can prescribe or prohibit behaviors and introduce policies that are valid
for the whole workforce or a large part of it. Examples are VW’s approach to ban
all email at a certain point (Smith, 2017) or changing organizational norms of a 24/7
availability by introducing charters or codes of behavior. At the individual level,
organizations can encourage their employees to change their checking behavior, for
example, through modifying smartphone settings so that they only get notified
during a period they can determine themselves.
J. Mattern:
A Classification of Organizational Interventions to Enable Detachment from Work
3.3 Target Potential or Manifest Connectivity
Literature has distinguished organizational interventions into primary, secondary
and tertiary interventions (Murphy & Sauter, 2004). Primary interventions aim at
modifying job or organizational characteristics and thus eliminate or reduce the
source of stress. Secondary interventions address the consequences instead of the
source of the stress Tertiary interventions aim at the rehabilitation of employees
(Murphy & Sauter, 2004). Applied to connectivity, primary interventions modify the
technical and social affordances to extensively connect to work, thus, target the
potential connectivity. Secondary interventions target the consequences of potential
connectivity, the practices employees engage in, thus, the manifest connectivity.
Tertiary interventions consist of helping employees to deal with the negative effects
of extensive connectivity such as difficulties to recover from work (Park et al., 2011)
or burnout (Ferguson et al., 2016). These interventions are rather subject to general
rehabilitation interventions instead of specific disconnectivity interventions. I
therefore include only primary and secondary interventions in the classification of
organizational disconnectivity interventions.
Interventions with the target of potential connectivity aim at modifying the capability
to connect technically and socially to work. This includes reducing the technical
possibility of getting reached during the holiday such as Daimler’s program “Mail on
holiday” that deletes emails that are sent to employees who are on holiday (Von
Bergen & Bressler, 2019). Reducing the potential social connectivity could be
achieved by developing agreements specifying periods of unavailability of
employees. Interventions targeting the manifest connectivity aim at modifying
practices that have emerged upon the potential connectivity. The affordances of
mobile devices can lead to practices such as frequent checking behavior (Oulasvirta,
Rattenbury, Ma, & Raita, 2012). Social expectations can result in practices similar to
performing work (Rosengren, 2019), where employees signal a high work
commitment regardless of how much they are actually working. This might result in
sending emails to managers late at night or in the email practice of “reply all” to
show many people that they are working. These habits can be targeted by
introducing email policies or even delete the “reply all” function (Pansu, 2018).
3.4 Mechanism Technology or Social Detachment
Connectivity literature has understood the phenomenon as technical and social
signals that are mutually influencing each other (Wajcman & Rose, 2011). Technical
connectivity drives social connectivity since it enables the possibility to access work
at any time so that expectations of an extended availability and short response times
emerge (Dettmers et al., 2016). At the same time, employees might increase their
technical connectivity due to the availability expectations. They signal an extended
availability (e.g. an ‘online’ status in the chat program) to others, in as much as this
work attitude signifies the image of a hard worker (Rosengren, 2019). Disconnecting
from work is achieved by detaching from the technical connection as well as
detaching socially from work.
Disconnecting technically refers to limiting or cutting the technical connection to
work so that employees can neither access information nor be able to communicate
with others. The above-mentioned intervention of banning emails that has been
introduced by VW is an example of an intervention at the organizational level that
leads to disconnecting from work technically. Another intervention might target the
common trend of using the same device for work and private issues (Harris, Ives, &
Junglas, 2012). A separation of the devices would loosen the “electronic leash”
(Diaz, Chiaburu, Zimmerman, & Boswell, 2012, p. 500) that ties employees to their
workplace. Disconnecting socially targets internal as well as external availability and
responsiveness expectations. Interventions that work through social detachment are
for example the concept of Predictable Time Off (Perlow & Porter, 2009), where
employees are required to take a break, thus, they are expected to be unavailable. An
overview of the classification with examples is illustrated in Table 1 in the appendix.
4 Discussion
The classification distinguishes dimensions and classes of disconnectivity
interventions. As connectivity is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon (Mattern,
Haines, & Schellhammer, 2019), interventions have different targets and are not
equally suitable for every organization and situation. In the following paragraph, I
discuss the likelihood of success for different interventions and factors that might
influence the effectiveness of the intervention. Based on the definition of an
organizational intervention, it is successful when well-being and health of the
J. Mattern:
A Classification of Organizational Interventions to Enable Detachment from Work
employees are increased (Nielsen, 2013). A successful disconnectivity intervention
should therefore result in an improved mental and physical detachment from work.
4.1 Success Factors
The classification helps to identify success factors for different interventions. Before
introducing an intervention, companies should define what type of intervention they
need to improve their employees’ ability to detach. Interventions at the
organizational level are only successful when they target general challenges that
hinder the employees’ ability to detach such as a high workload (Sonnentag & Fritz,
2015) or availability norms (Mazmanian & Erickson, 2014). Interventions at the
individual level are successful when employees differ in their ability to detach due to
factors such as segmentation preferences (Park et al., 2011). Employees who prefer
strict boundaries and want to prevent work-home spillover are more likely to detach
from work (Park et al., 2011) than those who appreciate an integration of both
spheres and might engage in an extended technology use for work (Derks et al.,
2014). The same preferences can be found among organizations, with some
organizations promoting clear boundaries and others a work-home integration
(Kreiner, 2006). Interventions at an organizational level are useful to target
organizational integration norms. If only some employees report difficulties in
disconnecting, it would be helpful to introduce individual interventions for those
with a high integration norm.
The decision between targeting potential or manifest connectivity requires an
examination of the current level of connectivity in the organization. Potential
connectivity should be at a requisite level, thus, at a sufficient level for achieving
tasks (Kolb, Collins, & Lind, 2008) which is dependent on the situation (e.g. a higher
level is necessary in global teams that are operating across different time zones).
Once a requisite level is achieved, interventions can target the individual practices
that emerge upon the potential connectivity. Targeting manifest connectivity
without considering first potential connectivity, does not treat the cause of the
problem but only the symptoms. For example, restricting the practice of replying to
all in an email in a situation of many possibilities and expectations to connect would
only lead to workarounds via other tools.
Mechanisms of interventions interact and can enhance each other (Pawson, 2013).
Disconnectivity interventions are therefore likely to be successful when they work
through both mechanisms, social and technical detachment. A comprehensive
disconnection from work is only possible when employees physically leave work and
stop thinking about work (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015). Thus, employees fully
disconnect from work when they are neither technically tied to their work nor
mentally or emotionally attached through availability expectations emerging upon
social connectivity.
4.2 Limitations and Future Work
The proposed classification of organizational disconnectivity interventions is the
first approach to this topic and will benefit from further research. Due to the
complexity of the phenomenon of extensive connectivity, it is difficult to propose a
one-size-fits-all approach. Organizations vary in size, culture, and industry, all of
which can influence the fit between employees and interventions as well as the
likelihood of success. Also, organizations are restricted in their actions due to budget
decisions and the capacity of human resources for the introduction of those actions.
Future research should validate the classification. A validation requires to
systematically analyze various interventions that are already in place. This will include
to collect information about the interventions from the companies’ management to
see whether there are differences between the interventions and whether they can
be categorized according to the classification. To evaluate the success of an
intervention, interviews and questionnaires regarding the detachment of the
employees (e.g. Recovery Experience Questionnaire (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007))
should be conducted.
5 Conclusion
This paper proposes a classification for organizational interventions that aim at
enabling employees to disconnect from work. The classification aims at providing
researchers as well as practitioners with a common understanding of intervention
types. It can guide further research and the development and evaluation of
disconnectivity interventions. The classification contributes to literature on
connectivity that is only beginning to examine organizational interventions as
discussions regarding employees’ rights and needs to disconnect are recently
J. Mattern:
A Classification of Organizational Interventions to Enable Detachment from Work
emerging (Hesselberth, 2018). I hereby add to the limited literature that takes a
positive perspective and examines coping strategies for extensive connectivity
(Russo, Ollier-Malaterre, & Morandin, 2019). I combine the psychological theory of
detachment with literature on connectivity and organizational interventions. I hereby
propose a means for evaluating the success of an intervention and provide
theoretical backing for the development of such interventions. In addition to the
theoretical contributions, this paper helps managers, human resource departments
and occupational health practitioners to specify which intervention is suitable for
the level and distribution of connectivity among their employees. This prevents a
premature decision and increases the likelihood of success. Acknowledging that
companies are not completely free in their choices of introducing interventions, the
classification creates awareness of the necessity to clearly define the level, target and
mechanisms of the intervention.
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Table 1: Classification of Organizational Interventions
Detachment Coaching
Banning Emails
Potential Connectivity
“Mail on Holiday”
Manifest Connectivity
Delete “reply all” function
Technical Detachment
Separating business and private phone
Social Detachment
“Predicted Time Off”
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Mobile technologies like the smartphone allow for checking and responding to requests almost instantaneously. The public and academic discourse is replete with critical assessments of potentially unhealthy behaviors that can result from this "constant connectivity". This pilot study explores the notion of constant connectivity and investigates why people continue to engage in such behaviors by using a student sample. We propose to conceptualize constant connectivity as a three-tiered phenomenon and study work ethic, social expectations and emotional reward as its antecedents. In contrast to our expectations, our findings do not support that work ethic serves as a good predictor for constant connectivity. However, a perceived reward for using the smartphone and beliefs regarding the expected timing between receiving and responding to a message both positively affected behaviors of constant connectivity. Our study thus suggests that individuals have an emotional connection to their smartphone rather than seeing it as a tool to conduct work with.
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Technology has drastically reshaped the workplace over the past decades. While it provides organizations and their employees a variety of benefits, there is also a growing perception that technological advancements (e.g., the evolution from telephone to smartphone) in the workplace may have a negative impact on employees’ mental health. Using a diary approach, we examined the direct effect of workplace telepressure during off-job hours on psychological detachment from work and the potential mediating role of work-related smartphone use during off-job hours in this relation. In addition, employees’ individual differences in empathy was proposed to act as a cross-level moderator of the relation between workplace telepressure and work-related smartphone use. A sample of 80 employees, representing a wide range of occupations and organizations, completed a daily survey on five successive workdays (N = 337–400 day-level observations). Results of multilevel analyses yielded no direct effect of workplace telepressure on psychological detachment on a day-to-day basis. Yet, the results supported a negative indirect effect of daily workplace telepressure during off-job hours on daily psychological detachment, mediated via daily work-related smartphone use during off-job hours. Additionally, the relation between workplace telepressure and work-related smartphone use was not strengthened by the affective component nor the cognitive component of other-oriented empathy. Our study highlights the importance of a clear organizational policy regarding work-related smartphone use during off-job hours and provides valuable input for strategies aiming to ameliorate employees’ psychological detachment and proper smartphone use.
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Work-life conflict involves the competing demands of work and nonwork activities that often trigger feelings of stress and anxiety that can endanger individuals’ professional and personal lives. As a result, organizations and nations have been encouraged to create more employee-friendly job arrangements in terms of where, when, and how individuals work. Providing employees greater choice and flexible work boundaries, however, often turns into work without boundaries creating problematic consequences for both firms and workers. This “always on” culture has been made possible by several factors most importantly by enhanced communication technology involving connectivity and immediacy that enable employees to communicate anytime and from anywhere. While organizations are addressing this imbalance and attempting to mitigate the often-negative effects of such professional-personal conflict, politicians have initiated legislation that attempts to switch off the 24-7-365 availability mindset by considering and sometimes adopting “right to disconnect laws.”
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Taking the “right to disconnect” discussion as a starting point, this article considers how the im/possibility of “opting out” is ruminated in scholarly discourses on technology non-use, media resistance, and media disruption. I argue that while very different in scope, these discourses converge in that they all revolve around a structuring paradox. On one hand, this paradox is set in place of the paradox of dis/connectivity itself (no disconnectivity without connectivity). On the other hand, I argue, it is incited and reinforced by the use of scholarly methods that appear to be at odds with the gesture of disconnectivity itself, whether they be empirical, discursive, or technical (or legislative). This article stakes a claim for the importance looking at these discourses on dis/connectivity from the point of view of this structuring paradox, for it is here, I argue, that the limits of our current “culture of connectivity” are most forcefully negotiated.
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Detachment from work has been proposed as an important non-work experience helping employees to recover from work demands. This meta-analysis (86 publications, k = 91 independent study samples, N = 38,124 employees) examined core antecedents and outcomes of detachment in employee samples. With regard to outcomes, results indicated average positive correlations between detachment and self-reported mental (i.e., less exhaustion, higher life satisfaction, more well-being, better sleep) and physical (i.e., lower physical discomfort) health, state well-being (i.e., less fatigue, higher positive affect, more intensive state of recovery), and task performance (small to medium sized effects). However, average relationships between detachment and physiological stress indicators and work motivation were not significant while associations with contextual performance and creativity were significant, but negative. Concerning work characteristics, as expected, job demands were negatively related and job resources were positively related to detachment (small sized effects). Further, analyses revealed that person characteristics such as negative affectivity/neuroticism (small sized effect) and heavy work investment (medium sized effect) were negatively related to detachment whereas detachment and demographic variables (i.e., age and gender) were not related. Moreover, we found a medium sized average negative relationship between engagement in work-related activities during non-work time and detachment. For most of the examined relationships heterogeneity of effect sizes was moderate to high. We identified study design, samples' gender distribution, and affective valence of work-related thoughts as moderators for some of these aforementioned relationships. The results of this meta-analysis point to detachment as a non-work (recovery) experience that is influenced by work-related and personal characteristics which in turn is relevant for a range of employee outcomes.
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Several studies have identified extended availability for work during nonwork time as a demand in modern forms of work. The present study investigated the effects of specific characteristics of extended work availability in order to derive health-promoting design criteria. We hypothesized that demands associated with extended availability are related to impaired well-being and restricted recovery, whereas resources associated with extended availability would decrease impaired well-being and enhance recovery. We tested these hypotheses on 346 employees from different industries who completed an online survey assessing the demands related to extended availability such as the specific degree to which the organization required availability during nonwork time, the frequency of job contacts, and the resources to cope with extended availability such as the adequacy of the available equipment for dealing with job contacts, the predictability of job contacts, and the control of job contacts. The results of multiple hierarchical regression analyses revealed significant effects of availability demands on the outcome variables of emotional exhaustion and recovery experiences. Resources associated with extended availability counteracted these effects by having negative effects on emotional exhaustion and positive effects on recovery. In part, they had a moderating effect on detrimental availability effects. It is concluded that there are characteristics that strengthen or buffer the effects of extended availability. Focusing on these characteristics, namely, resources, makes it possible to design extended availability in ways that minimize its negative effects if it is generally unavoidable for employees.
Most of the interruptions caused by smartphones and other communication technologies are initiated by the individuals themselves. Likewise, breakouts from connectivity are enacted by individuals who want to disconnect. This paper explores human agency in the face of material agency, and specifically the decisions that people make to regulate their connectivity states, and the motivations that drive such decisions. We analyse a corpus of LinkedIn comments posted on an article discussing excessive use of mobile phones. We find that people regulate their connectivity both with a promotion focus, to achieve gains at work and outside of work, and with a prevention focus, to avoid losses in these two domains. Moreover, regulation is simultaneously driven by the logic of consequences and the logic of appropriateness. Contrary to the popular depiction of connectivity resulting in work invading non-work, people in this sample build boundaries around non-work and around work.
Work-related use of information and communication technologies after hours (W_ICTs) has been found to have an extensive and profound influence on employees’ work and family lives. In the current study, we examined the effect of W_ICTs on employee emotional exhaustion and investigated the underlying mechanism with two different samples. In Study 1, data from 447 Chinese college counselors showed that W_ICTs was positively associated with emotional exhaustion, but this positive relationship was weaker for individuals with higher work-home integration preference. These findings were replicated in Study 2, using a sample of 340 full-time employees from different companies in different industries in China. Further analyses showed that work schedule and location control mediated the moderating effect of work-home integration preference on the relationship between W_ICTs and emotional exhaustion. These findings provide strong support for the proposed mediated moderation model, and demonstrate the importance of adopting a needs-supplies fit perspective to understanding the influence of W_ICTs.