Brumley, Krista M., and Megan Edgar St George. (2022). Rules of Engagement: Flexplace and Ideal Workers. Social Currents.

Employees increasingly claim they do not have enough time to manage the demands of both work and family/life. Workplace flexibility policies have been offered as a key solution to managing these conflicting demands. Yet, employers remain resistant to develop, implement, and endorse these policies. We suggest one avenue to further our understanding is a more holistic look at the connection between availability and use of flexibility, and the workplace context. We specifically examine flexplace. The data derive from 25 in-depth interviews of employees in professional and supervisory positions in the U.S. automotive industry. By examining the variation of flexplace policy availability, we unpack the logics of employee use/non-use of flexplace. We argue that different assumptions of the ideal worker norm undergird flexplace availability, which in turn create different rules of engagement and use. This study offers an analytical model to extend our theorizing on the availability/use gap. Examination of ideal worker norms allows insight into how employees struggle to decipher signals on permissible flexplace use. The findings capture dynamic and interrelated relationships to uncover the constraints of policies and the power of the workplace context.