After-hours connectivity management strategies in academic work

Aljabr, N., Chamakiotis, P., Petrakaki, D., Newell, S. (2021), New technology, Work and Employment

Emerging literature has identified a range of strategies that professionals develop in order to manage after-hours connectivity to work, but it has largely treated those strategies as being independent from each other. Existing research has not captured the dynamic nature of connectivity or how this may facilitate the redrawing of boundaries in practice. Here, we focus on academics as an occupational group that experiences connectivity to work, given their discretion to decide (to a degree) when to work outside their teaching duties. Drawing on two case studies, we first elicit three connectivity management strategies—segmentation, prioritisation and distancing—and illustrate the practices that support them and their intertwining relationship, as academics try to maintain their professional identity. Second, we argue that technology does not necessarily contribute to a blurring of boundaries between work and nonwork, but it can also be used as a ‘boundary object’ that separates the two domains.

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