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Work Schedule Flexibility: A Contributor to Happiness?

posted Dec 27, 2013, 3:53 PM by Naomi Naghi   [ updated Mar 8, 2014, 9:14 AM ]

Lonnie Golden1, Julia R. Henly & Susan Lambert

Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 4, Issue: 2
, pp. 107-135
Date: December 2013
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: This article contributes to knowledge regarding determinants of happiness by examining the independent role played by having discretion over one’s working time, using data pooled from two years of a nationally representative US survey. Controlling for a worker’s income bracket and work hours duration, having work schedule flexibility in the form of an ability to take time off during the work day and, to a somewhat lesser extent, to vary starting and quitting times daily, are both associated with greater happiness, whereas an ability to refuse overtime work is weak at best. The associations are generally stronger among workers paid by the hour than by salary. Worker utility functions thus may be enhanced by including the timing and flexibility of working time. Policies and practices that promote more employee-centered flexible working time may not only help workers alleviate work-life time conflicts, but also promote worker well-being generally, especially among hourly-paid workers.

Keywords: Subjective Well-Being, Work Schedules, Workplace Flexibility, Working Time, Economics of Happiness.

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