A systematic review of risk and protective factors associated with temporal, spatial and occupational flexibility among knowledge workers today

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This systematic review summarizes the evidence from studies examining risk and protective factors associated with three types of employment flexibilities (temporal, spatial and occupational) among knowledge workers. Data included 38 peer-reviewed qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies. In order to gain an overview of the identified risk and protective factors, an ecological model was used to structure the findings. At the individual level, risk factors included work intensification and (techno)stress and self-responsibility in relation to autonomy versus control. At the organizational and family level, unclear management, work/life conflict and external demands were identified. At the societal level, working conditions and reduced bargaining power were identified. Cultural-level risk includes gender differences. Protective factors at the individual level are coping strategies and self-management and devotion/commitment to work. At the organizational and family level, clear (e-)management and collective identity were identified. The findings suggest flexibilities entail great potential for improving work life however, only true if risk factors are mitigated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019


  • future of work
  • flexibility
  • review
  • knowledge work
  • Technology

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