New ways of working and the implications for work-life balance

Lyonette, Clare, Anderson, Deirdre, Lewis, Suzan ORCID logoORCID:, Payne, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: and Wood, Stephen (2013) New ways of working and the implications for work-life balance. In: Work, Employment and Society Conference: States of Work: Visions and Interpretations of Work, Employment, Society and the State, 03-05 Sep 2013, Warwick, UK. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


Recent decades have seen increasing attention to work-life balance (WLB) in workplaces across many countries, with workplace initiatives driven by legislative and normative pressures, as well as economic factors. However, the 2008 global financial crisis and associated austerity cuts,
particularly within the public sector, have raised questions about the future of WLB.
WLB policies have often been used by employers as they try to brand themselves in order to attract and retain good staff, especially women who would prefer to work flexibly. However, in the UK public sector, even before the 2008 recession, there were moves towards new ways of working in which flexible working, including home-working, were to play an increasing role. Selling off office space and allowing, and even encouraging, employees to work from home, to work from remote hubs or to “hot-desk” were all becoming increasingly common strategies.
Interviews were conducted with HR professionals in 26 UK public sector organisations. Analysis, which focused more particularly on the 12 local authorities included, reveals that the recession has served to justify and further develop these public sector initiatives which have resulted in so-called mutual flexibility for both employees and employers. However, there is also evidence of a corresponding shift in the WLB discourse from employer-led support for individual employees’ WLB to individuals taking responsibility for their own health and well-being, of which WLB is a part. The implications for the future of the WLB agenda will be discussed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 13037
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Depositing User: Nicola Payne
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2014 09:50
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2020 03:58

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