Engaging the Flexibility Paradox : Working from Home and Work-Family Conflict Among Working Adults in South Africa


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Working from home is widely embraced by many workers and organisations as a useful strategy for achieving better work-life balance. As evidenced by the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become a new norm for many working adults, as flexible working arrangements continue to hold sway across many countries. That said, recent debates in the work-family literature suggest that home-based telecommuting presents a paradox whereby such work arrangements potentially increase workers’ experiences of work-family conflict, resulting in poor work-life balance. Drawing from retrospective secondary data on South African workers (n = 727) in the 2015 International Social Survey Programme, this study provides evidence of the relationship between working from home and work-family conflict. Our study results show that working from home during usual working hours increased work-to-family conflict (B = 0.150, p < 0.05) and family-to-work conflict (B = 0.166, p < 0.05) among individuals in paid employment after controlling for well-established sociodemographic variables (such as age, sex, years of schooling, weekly working hours). While the flexibility paradox has become a topical concern following the COVID-19 pandemic, this study underscores the pitfalls of working from home for workers’ work-family balance and the need to adopt working from home with some caution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWork-Life Balance in Africa : A Critical Approach
EditorsHakeem Adeniyi AJONBADI, Chima MORDI, Olatunji David ADEKOYA
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)9783031380082
ISBN (Print)9783031380075
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2023


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