Daily Job Flexibility and The Wellbeing of Hourly and Salaried Workers
Methods: Data include 2,982 working adults from the 2002, 2006 and 2010 US General Social Survey Quality of Work Life module. Dependent variables include: perceived stress, the average of two items assessing frequency of exhaustion and work stress (1=never - 5=very often), and life/work satisfaction, the average of two items assessing happiness and job satisfaction (1=not, 2=somewhat, 3=very happy/satisfied). Two indicators of daily job flexibility include ability to change starting and quitting times (1=never - 4=often) and difficulty taking time off during work (1=very hard - 4=not at all hard). Demographic and job characteristics with demonstrated relationship to well-being and job flexibility are included as controls. For each dependent variable, a series of regression equations are estimated to assess their association with daily job flexibility. The interaction of daily job flexibility with hourly/salary status is then assessed, and the regression analyses are rerun by hourly/salaried subgroup for clearer interpretation.
Results: Descriptively, salaried workers report higher life/work satisfaction and stress, less difficulty changing schedule and taking time off than hourly workers. Regression results indicate that net of controls, the ability to take time off and vary work times are associated with greater life/work satisfaction and lower stress. The interaction is statistically significant. Specifically, the associations between ability to take time off and life/work satisfaction and stress respectively are significant for hourly and salaried workers, but much stronger among hourly workers. For salaried workers, there is no significant relationship between changing work time and either satisfaction or stress; but for hourly workers, the relationship is stronger and significant.
Implications: Findings suggest that daily job flexibility can yield positive returns to workers well-being. Benefits may be especially strong for hourly workers because of fewer external resources to respond to work demands. Future research might examine whether daily job flexibility also poses costs in terms of reduced hours or supervisor sanctions that may ultimately reduce well-being. Findings will be discussed in the context of the current work-life policy agenda.