Sustaining work schedules: balancing leisure and work.

Author:Taneja, Sonia
Position:Report - Abstract


The quest to balance leisure and work, including how to do it and maintain standards of excellence continues to be a topic of interest. With changing lifestyles and work commitments associated with current economic factors, people seem to have forgotten the idea of leisure as part of their day-to-day schedules. Today people may seem to think that they are fortunate to have jobs in this economic situation, and this may make them work longer hours and forget leisure time. Leisure time is important for the human body because it re-energizes both the body and the mind. According to the 2010 American Time Use for Leisure Market Research Handbook survey, individuals aged 15 and over engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. The survey reported that men spent 5.8 hours whereas women spend 5.1 hours a day in leisure activities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Leisure is defined as, "non-work that nourishes the health, happiness, and fulfillment of the whole human person. It is time and activity that is not driven by duty, accomplishment, or productivity, time and activity that celebrate being human rather than having and consuming material things" (Stockhausen, 1998 as cited in O'Boyle, 2011, pg. 12). This includes quality time with family and friends, and doing things you love to do. The concept of commitment has been introduced to the leisure literature (Haworth, 1984). Social scientists believe that solutions to major employment-related problems can be found in the leisure sphere (Shamir, 1988). It is also noted that leisure quests have the potential to provide status recognition, self-development, and opportunities presented at the workplace (Shepard, 1974). Commitment and leisure are considered important components of employees' jobs because commitment denotes obligation, duty, restriction, and routine whereas leisure includes elements like freedom, individuality, spontaneity, variety, and pleasure (Shamir, 1988). The concepts of commitment and leisure contradict each other. Therefore, any application of the commitment concept to the leisure sphere requires careful attention to its implications.

Consumption is a part of total economic activity which involves production to distribution of goods and services in the organization (Goodwin, Nelson, Ackerman, and Weisskopf, 2008). The dilemma is that leisure time and work are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are inter-dependent. In fact, individuals achieve their wants and needs through consumption, work, and leisure.


Work-leisure conflicts exist because of the intense competition in organizations which has led "to more demand and complex roles of knowledge workers" (Zhao & Rashid, 2010, p. 25). Various scholars such as: Li & Shani (1991); Ford , Heinen & Langkamer (2007), Slatery, Selvarajan & Anderson (2009) pointed out that work- leisure conflict is a significant factor in determining the employee's decision to continue working in their existing organization or to leave an organization. Further, Zhao & Rashid (2010) noted that work-leisure conflict is a result of improper allocations of employee workloads. They also suggested that "Organizations should tackle role ambiguity with highest priority and relieve work-leisure conflict to effectively retain employees under job stress" (Zhao & Rashid, 2010, p. 25).

Tait, Padgett & Baldwin (1989) discussed what they consider to be a most accurate means of characterizing the relationship between work and non-work satisfaction. The basis of it lies in the spillover model which states that "the nature of one's work experiences will carry over in to the non- work domain and affect attitudes and behaviors there (Willensky, 1960 as cited in Snir & Harpaz, 2002, p. 3). According to Personalist economists view, economic activities like consumption, work and leisure are inter-dependent and intertwined with one another because employees achieve their objectives and needs through these three activities (O'Boyle, 2011). First, these three activities--consumption, work, and leisure--are the means to achieve ends. The ends could be in the form of needs and wants which are derived from human beings' respective motivations to work. Such motives and needs prompt people to take an action, e.g., work to achieve individual goals. These needs could be to achieve (1) basic physiological needs such as food, clothing and shelter; (2) safety needs such as protection and security; (3) social needs such as from work groups, relationships, networking, belongingness, family, and social groups; (4) esteem needs such as to maintain status quo, responsibility, reputation, and achievement; and (5) self-actualization needs such as the need to achieve personal and professional growth and fulfillment (Maslow, 1948; Maslow, 1954; Robbins & Judge, 2012). Second, these three inter-dependent activities are performed by individuals or employees based on their respective capabilities and limits or levels of energy which are exclusive to every employee and individual based on their needs and wants. Third, these elements of economic activities--consumption, work, and leisure--can be explained differently in theory but, at the workplace, they are mutually dependent on each other. They are inextricably intertwined with other aspects of life (Watkins & Subich, 1995). For example, the working lunch combines work and consumption. The three-day holiday weekend includes leisure and consumption. Working after hours at home and at the same time watching a professional tennis match includes working and re-energizing for the work. The working vacation, presenting at the conferences...

To continue reading