Schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life may help employees manage the work-family interface. Existing data and research designs, however, have made it difficult to conclusively identify the effects of these work resources. This analysis utilizes a group-randomized trial in which some units in an information technology workplace were randomly assigned to participate in an initiative, called STAR, that targeted work practices, interactions, and expectations by (1) training supervisors on the value of demonstrating support for employees’ personal lives and (2) prompting employees to reconsider when and where they work. We find statistically significant, although modest, improvements in employees’ work-family conflict and family time adequacy, and larger changes in schedule control and supervisor support for family and personal life. We find no evidence that this intervention increased work hours or perceived job demands, as might have happened with increased permeability of work across time and space. Subgroup analyses suggest the intervention brought greater benefits to employees more vulnerable to work-family conflict. This study uses a rigorous design to investigate deliberate organizational changes and their effects on work resources and the work-family interface, advancing our understanding of the impact of social structures on individual lives.
Drawing on two waves of survey data conducted six months apart in 2006, this study examined the impacts of a team-level flexibility initiative (ROWE--results only work environment) on changes in the work-home spillover and health behavior of employees at the Midwest headquarters of a large U.S. corporation. Using cluster analysis, we identified three distinct baseline spillover constellations: employees with high negative spillover, high positive spillover, and low overall spillover. Within-team spillover measures were highly intercorrelated, suggesting that work teams as well as individuals have identifiable patterns of spillover. Multilevel analyses showed ROWE reduced individual- and team-level negative work-home spillover but not positive work-home spillover or spillover from home-to-work. ROWE also promoted employees' health behaviors: increasing the odds of quitting smoking, decreasing smoking frequency, and promoting perceptions of adequate time for healthy meals. Trends suggest that ROWE also decreased the odds of excessive drinking and improved sleep adequacy and exercise frequency. Some health behavior effects were mediated via reduced individual-level negative work-home spillover (exercise frequency, adequate time for sleep) and reduced team-level negative work-home spillover (smoking frequency, exercise frequency, and adequate time for sleep). While we found no moderating effects of gender, ROWE especially improved the exercise frequency of singles and reduced the smoking frequency of employees with low overall spillover at baseline.