Involuntary vs. voluntary flexible work: insights for scholars and stakeholders. By: Kaduk, Anne; Genadek, Katie; Kelly, Erin L.; Moen, Phyllis. Community, Work & Family. Oct2019, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p412-442. 31p.

Building on insights from the early stages of our research partnership with a U.S. Fortune 500 organization, we came to differentiate between voluntary and involuntary schedule variability and remote work. This differentiation underscores the complexity behind flexible schedules and remote work, especially among white-collar, salaried professionals. We collected survey data among the partner firm’s information technology (IT) workforce to evaluate whether these forms of flexibility had different implications for workers, as part of the larger Work, Family, and Health Network Study. We find that a significant minority of these employees report working variable schedules and working at home involuntarily. Involuntary variable schedules are associated with greater work-to-family conflict, stress, burnout, turnover intentions, and lower job satisfaction in models that adjust for personal characteristics, job, work hours, family demands, and other factors. Voluntary remote work, in contrast, is protective and more common in this professional sample. Employees working at least 20% of their hours at home and reporting moderate or high choice over where they work have lower stress and intentions to leave the firm. These findings point to the importance of both stakeholders and scholars distinguishing between voluntary and involuntary forms of flexibility, even in a relatively advantaged workforce.