Research Rundown

Conflicting identities in the workplace

Employees often wear multiple hats at work, e.g., parent, student, volunteer, etc. But, sometimes these roles conflict with the job and lead to feelings like guilt or uncertainty. How can employers help minimize this internal struggle?

First, it’s important to be clear about expectations during the hiring process, said management professors Jennifer Robin and Heidi Bauman. Consider taking advantage of technology. For example, letting an employee attend an event virtually while caring for a sick family member could help alleviate strain and increase compatibility between their workplace identity (accountant, marketer, etc.) and non-workplace identity (caregiver, parent, etc.)

TAKEAWAY: It’s important to be clear about expectations during the hiring process.

Off the clock after hours

Most people know the downside to being online constantly, e.g., distracted driving or lack of engagement with loved ones. So, what are the implications for organizations expecting employees to be available 24/7?

Research by business law professor Tanya Marcum and Luke Versweyveld ’18 explained employers must balance expectations of after-hours productivity with workers’ need for downtime. A majority of employees believe after-hours work is positive but don’t think the ability to do their jobs would be negatively affected if they shut off at the end of the day. The issue is international, with several countries debating limits on worker access outside regular hours.

TAKEAWAY: Employers must balance expectations of after-hours productivity with workers’ needs for downtime.

Battling the effects of boredom

Many employees are bored on the job and that translates into reduced performance and other issues — how can employers keep things interesting?

Job-related boredom negatively affects not only job performance but employees’ well-being and interactions. Research by management and leadership professor Candace Esken shows employer support for job crafting or allowing some independence, such as reducing redundant activities, gives workers a chance to engage and reduce monotony. Esken’s findings suggest matching workers with positions that utilize their skills and experiences and helping them find meaning in their work can also combat the issue.

TAKEAWAY: Support for job crafting, such as reducing redundant activities, gives workers a chance to reduce boredom.

Some media in Bradley University's current print, video and online materials was acquired before the COVID-19 pandemic. Media acquired after the pandemic began was done so in compliance with Bradley's COVID-19 safety protocols at the time. The ongoing safety of our faculty, staff and students is of the utmost concern during these unprecedented times.