Accessing a Sustainable Work Life: Work Patterns, Work-Life Balance and Inequality

By Paul Blyton.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper begins by examining what a more sustainable work life would look like for employees and communities. In terms of work arrangements, one aspect involves the amount of commuting required, and the prospects for expanding work schedules that require travel to and from work on fewer days. This could be achieved either by longer individual shifts (completing weekly contractual hours in fewer days) or by some work being undertaken from home. The evidence for the extent to which these work arrangements (compressed working and telecommuting) are becoming more widespread, is assessed. While both work practices show signs of continued growth, a number of obstacles are identified that are currently hindering more rapid development. Among these, particular attention in the paper is given to the unequal access that is evident within organisational hierarchies, such that more senior levels have greater access to determine their start and stop times, and to work part of their time from home, compared to their lower level counterparts. The promotion of more equal access, involving overcoming managerial reluctance to extending the flexibility of lower level employees, will be an important element in developing more sustainable work patterns in coming years.

Keywords: Work Patterns, Work Life Balance, Telecommuting, Compressed Working, Inequality

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.263-268. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 605.870KB).

Prof. Paul Blyton

Professor of Industrial Relations and Research Associate ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Hold Chair in Industrial Relations and also Research Associate ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) Research interests include working time, work-life balance and corporate responsibility towards employees. Conducted research in Europe, North America and Australia. Author of over fifty refereed academic articles and more than a dozen books including The Realities of Work (with M. Noon, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Work-Life Integration (with B. Blunson, K Reed and A Dastmalchian, Palgrave Macmillan 2006); and Reassessing the Employment Relationship, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)


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