Temporal flexibility and its limits : the personal use of ICTs at work

Rose, Emily (2015) Temporal flexibility and its limits : the personal use of ICTs at work. Sociology, 49 (3). pp. 505-520. ISSN 0038-0385

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Abstract

Employee temporal flexibility is a common strategy aimed at assisting workers to reduce conflict between work and family life. Information and communication technologies can facilitate this by enabling employees to attend to various personal life matters during the workday. Critical to utilising such flexibility is a degree of autonomy over how work time can be used. However, in organisational settings, such autonomy is tempered by structural and normative constraints. This article examines how environments of constrained autonomy affect employees’ ability to use time flexibly. Case study data of engineers and managers working in the telecommunications industry is presented. This reveals two findings. Firstly, environments of constrained autonomy limit when during the workday employees can engage in personal mediated communications. Secondly, when personal time is inserted into such contexts, the quantitative and qualitative character of this time is affected.