Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

The Flexibility Paradox

Why Flexible Working Leads to (Self-)Exploitation

By Heejung Chung

Published

Mar 4, 2022

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1447354772

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Mar 4, 2022

Page count

208 pages

ISBN

978-1447354819

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press
The Flexibility Paradox

Does flexible working really provide a better work-life balance?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible working has become the norm for many workers. This volume offers an original examination of flexible working using data from 30 European countries and drawing on studies conducted in Australia, the US and India. Rather than providing a better work-life balance, the book reveals how flexible working can lead to exploitation, which manifests differently for women and men, such as more care responsibilities or increased working hours.

Taking a critical stance, this book investigates the potential risks and benefits of flexible working and provides crucial policy recommendations for overcoming the negative consequences.

"Flexible work is a priority for many workers and yet remains a puzzle to many employers. This book provides much-needed clarity about the critical role schedule control will play in creating equitable work systems and cultures." Brigid Schulte, New America

“Be careful what you wish for with regard to flexible work. Chung’s savvy analysis and fresh perspective explains the reasons that flexible work so often creates more work.” Erin L. Kelly, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Heejung Chung is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent.

Introduction: The flexibility paradox and contexts

The demand for and trends in flexible working

The dual nature of flexibility: Family-friendly or performance-oriented logic?

The outcomes of flexible working

The flexibility paradox: Why more freedom at work leads to more work

The empirical evidence of the flexibility paradox

Gendered flexibility paradox

Flexibility stigma and the rewards of flexible working

The importance of contexts

COVID- 19 and flexible working

Conclusion: Where do we go from here?