Work and Non-Work

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Work for emotional, social, economical and other types of benefits is one of the main factors, which define a human being in one of the ways. Since the beginning of all times, when the evolution kicked in to transform the apes into Homo sapiens; hunting, fishing and gathering were the types of work that the members of the group had been following in order to get food and clothing for survival. As soon as the first people have found an alternative purpose of a stick and a stone to create a complex tool, the first attempts for making the life easier and more comfortable. As the gatherings have started to expand and the society has begun to get formed, the roles in work have also started to expand. First, people exchanged their work or services for someone else’s services, benefits; or utensils, products, or goods. Later on, people got smarter and introduced units of a stable value, which they could exchange for anything they wanted. The more people discovered about the life around them, and the more they have created new tools, the more work needed to be accomplished. As follows, gaining new knowledge led to the expansion of the circle of services the humankind had to offer each other. In such a way, work has always been a means for survival and continuation of life.

In the contemporary society almost everything can be bought in exchange for money. Nothing is provided free of charge. For this reason, an individual has to pay for merely everything one needs, or does. It is a very important issue as the life as it is has become expensive. It seems that people are going back to the pre-historic time, where they had to work in order to survive.

One of the most frustrating issues in today’s world is that work does not feed the family. Back in pre-historic times, the man of the family was able to hunt and fish, which was enough for keeping the whole family alive. Today, even with the cases when both spouses work they are still unable to earn enough money to get by for the whole family. All this happens due to the social gratification and stereotyping of the modern society. This paper aims at discovering the reasons behind high and low paid jobs, as well as why it is not enough to have only one working position to feed the family. The research also aims at discovering the main stereotypes and discriminating elements, which determine the level of payment one can receive for providing his services. Defining the purpose of luxury and the main purposes of money answer the question about why does one need to have more than one job in today’s society, or work longer hours and late shifts.

Implications of work and non-work

Since the last century the longer working hours, as well as the dual income families have expanded in number. According to Kodz (2003), “proportion of employees working over 48 a week rose through most of the 1990s” (10). Such expansion in of longer working hours has become more popular as it benefits for both employers and employers. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2010) in their analysis aimed at comparing the working hours in the European Union has identified the reasons of longer working hours, as well as their consequences: both positive and negative. The organization has found that the employees benefit from longer working hours as they “hours have a direct bearing on standard of living, level of work–life balance and the overall sustainability of working life” (1). In such a way, the longer working hours help the individuals to pursue a better quality of life due to the reasons of higher levels of wages, as well as leading to higher level of satisfaction from the life in overall. In its own way, the employers also follow beneficial patterns from longer working hours, such as higher competitiveness and productivity levels, as well as the cost calculations. In addition, such phenomenon is signified by “improved promotion prospects and greater job security” (10).

Nevertheless, along the positive outcome of longer working hours for both parties, excessive working hours have also a negative impact. For instance, Kodz states that “Excessive long hours working is associated with (though not proved to cause) lower productivity, poor work performance, health problems and low employee motivation” (10). In such a way, the workers, which make a decision to earn more in exchange for their spare time, usually lose motivation and focus on work. This can result in decreasing the quality of work, which is mirroring negatively on the indicators of the organization and the professionals themselves. In addition, not all employers pay extra for longer hours. Kodz (2003) states that the individuals, who get paid for overtime, work are under the segmentation. For instance, men are found most commonly to work and get paid extra. Gender segregation is not the only segment, which attributes to extra payment. Also, such professions as managers, operators and assembly workers are more predisposed towards longer working hours. Yet, the payment for overtime practices is usually paid more for the manual workers, as in comparison to the managers, or other professionals.

Work: Working long hours implications

For starters, in order to understand the question as a whole, one has to define and claim the main reasons of the term “work”. Oxford dictionary defines work as “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result” (2012), meaning that this process has an agent, who performs a particular action of various character in order to achieve a result and receive a benefit in return. In most countries the working week is framed by the canvas of 8 hour working day, which is equated to a 40 hour labor week with one or two days of rest. Lee, S., McCann, D. and Messenger, J. C. (2007) write that the principle of “8 hours a day and 48 hours a week” was first introduced by the ILO Convention in 1919 (1). Nonetheless, in 1935 the Forty-Hour Week Convention has redesigned the working week for 40-hours. The authors also claim that even though the law states a 40-hours working week, the following regulation is followed just on paper. It is stated that many developing countries claim to suffer from “‘time squeeze’, ‘time poverty’ and ‘karoshi’ (death from overwork)” (2). Yet, despite the acknowledgement of such phenomenon, the exact quantity of overworking shifts in each country has not been identified for various reasons.

Working longer hours is defined by Kodz (2003) “as a significant departure from their normal working week” (11). Most researches take into account a week, which includes more than 48 working hours. The most significant number of working long hours is found among the countries, which are developing, such as China, Argentina, India, The Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Tanzania, etc. Nonetheless, many developed countries, especially in the EU also indicate the number of population, which works longer hours (Budlender, D 2008; Lee, S., McCann, D. and Messenger, J. C. 2007; White, J. & Johanna Beswick, J. 2003), claiming the final record of overtime work in the UK (White & Beswick 2003). White and Beswick (2003) have discovered that according to the WERS report (Workplace Relations Survey) that the working hours are categorized for specific groups of people. For instance, whereas 19% of males for 49-60 hours per week, only 4% of women follow this category of men. The research by Kodz (2003) identifies such categories of individuals, who are most likely to work extra hours: older people in the age of 30-49, assembly worker, various managers and professionals of a narrow profile, two thirds of women who occupy managerial positions, craftsmen, service workers, operators, construction workers, drivers, communication professionals, household specialists and workers (forestry, fishing, agriculture, etc.). In addition, White & Beswick (2003) write that log hours are different for men and women. According to Kodz et al. (2003) “Men with children are slightly more likely to work longer hours than those without, while women with children are less likely to work long hours than those without” (11). In overall, men take on themselves over 60 hours, whereas women afford over 40 hours per week (2). Taking into consideration the researches in this field, many author focus their attention on the reasons for working longer hours.


The reason behind inability to define the quantity of the working hours in each country also lies in the issue of defining precisely the working hours as such. For instance, the introduction of flexible hours shifts the standard 9 to 5 working day, as well as deregulation of working hours during the week, as a result frames a new dimension of the working hours. Lee, S., McCann, D. & Messenger, J. C. (2007), address their concern in the negative outcomes of overtime working hours: “there is increasing concern about working time regulations and their negative impact on the labor market in developing countries” (3).

Having said that according to the law each individuals has a right for a 40-hour working week does not necessarily imply that one would eventually follow it. Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS) helps to conclude the evidence on why do the employees work extra (Kodz et al.). Kodz et al. (2003) write from the point of view of the industries about why it is important that the employers work longer hours: “long hours are a difficult issue for unions, as they enhance income but reduce leisure time. As such, long hours have a mixed effect on utility to the worker, and union strategies may reflect this in certain ambivalence towards long hours working” (62). As for the individuals, they expect to receive many privileges working extra. For instance, wages and promotions, workload, cultural acceptability, job insecurity, flexible and deregulatory working schedule, and commitment and dedication (Kodz et al. 2003; Khattab & Fenton 2009; Johnson & Lipscomb 2006; Callister 2005; Andrews 2012; Schieman, Milkie & Glavin 2009; White & Beswick 2003).

However, defining the outcome of overtime work, the opinions and theories of the researchers become dichotonomous. Many of them, such as Andrews (2012), Gicheva, D. (2009), Khattab & Fenton (2009), Kodz et al. (2003), etc. state that working longer hours suggest raising the overall satisfaction with the life due to the following reasons. Others claim that working longer hours leads to various negative implications as follows. Among them are Callister (2005), Johnson & Lipscomb (2006), Olson-Buchanan & Boswell (2005), Klitzman, House & Israel (1989), Park, et al. (2001), Schieman & Milkie (2009), Spurgeon, Harrington & Cooper (1997), Wilkins (2004), Wooden (2003), etc.

Positive outcome of working long hours

The main reasons for taking a second job or working extra hours are the expectations of positive character. One of the most widespread positive outcomes of working longer hours is higher salary, in case of the overtime is paid. Kodz et al. (2003) describes the findings of the research by White in 2001: “based on a sample of 2,500 employees, found that 30 per cent work long hours to earn extra money” (63). In addition, the employees choose to work longer hours also in an unpaid basis, expecting delayed effects, such as promotions or premiums. Also, Gicheva (2003) has identified that “Hours worked have little or no effect on the change in log wages when hours are less than average, but the effect is positive and strong for higher values of hours” (5). She claims that working longer hours lead to career wage growth. Khattab & Fenton (2009) also claim resulting from extra hour work control over life, as a defining factor of life satisfaction. This means that time planning, earning and spending, the opportunities, and etc. increase in scope and raises the level of personal fulfillment in individuals.

Negative outcome of working longer hours

Nonetheless, despite the pleasant additional payment or promotions, many throbbing stones exist on the way of having positive outcome. Many companies have an established working hours, yet, are focusing on a daily result of a worker. This means that one has to stay late in order to finish all the tasks, which are marked for a specific day, whether one likes it or not. In addition, many companies practice the corporate policies, which imply team work. In such case, working extra would be a result of supporting the team in order not to lead down the colleagues. What is more important is that many employers actually expect their workers to work extra hours, in order to help the image of the company, calling it their corporate policy. Others even force their workers to stay late for no extra payment, threaten that one might lose the job, or what is worse, not get paid (Kodz et al. 2003).

In addition to these aspects, many connected to the security, health and the rights of workers can be identified. Bartley, Sacker & Schoon (2005) hypothesize that “work which was repetitive and intrinsically lacking in meaning was linked to psychological distress and lack of job satisfaction, and so was implicitly or explicitly damaging to health” (4). It means that a worker who dislikes working at the factory completing the same job every day for over 20 years might get sick both physically and emotionally for particularly no reason. The researchers (Bartley, Sacker & Schoon 2005) also indicate that the working individuals get affected by “physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, or psychosocial” hazards in their workplace every day (4). They include the findings of Koh & Jeyaratnam (2002) indicating such numbers:

“42% of all workers thought their health could be affected by their work; 40% felt they were at risk of an accident at work; 25% were concerned for both their health and safety

At work; 27% used dangerous or potentially dangerous equipment or machinery for one quarter of their working lives; 84% thought industrial accidents and diseases were commonplace; 14% had had a recognized industrial accident or occupational disease.”

Supporting these findings, Wilkins (2004) states that the working extra time indeed correlates with the number of injuries received on the working place (12). Concluding the findings on comparing the state of health of an employee in a normal working day and one that follows a deregulatory or flexible working schedule underlines the correlation exists. However, less information have been collected regarding the seamless effect between the workers following a normal working day and extra hour schedule (Spurgeon, Harrington & Cooper 1997).

Non-work: Work in exchange for leisure

As stated above, work and extra hours are proven to have more positive than negative effects on a life of an individual. Nevertheless, non-work has also its bright side for an individual and his environment. These advantages are found more to have a psychological background rather than economical, nevertheless helps on to support his plain sanity, which cannot be said for extra time workers. Baker, Roach & Ferguson (2003) write: “The way employees value time varies depending on their regular working time arrangements” (14). For this reason it is difficult to state a general positive or negative effect of work or non-work on a general population, as the cases are very unique. However, Klitzman, House & Israel (1989) in their research have assessed “independent associations of work stressors, non-work stressors, and work-non-work interference, respectively, with feelings and health, while controlling for demographic characteristics and the other relevant classes of variables” in order to see what positive and negative affect does the leisure have on the individuals (7).

Positive outcome

The researchers (White & Beswick 2003) indicate that no more than 41% of men and 40% of women respectively work 31-40 hours per week. It has been indicates as well that men work extra hours more than do women. This is so for a variety of reasons, For instance, historically women work less, and following the tradition is a standard.

Second, Allan, Loudoun & Peetz (2007) indicate that work and family responsibilities are impossible to be performed at the same time. Therefore, even following the standard working week one usually sees his family no more than 4 hours per day, which is emotionally is not enough to support the bonds on the same level.

Third, people who have enough time for rest are not exposed to hazards, as do the overtime workers individuals, as well as various types of stressors. Callister (2005) writes that “Job satisfaction is one of several factors whose influence on health has been thought to be highly significant. It is direct manifestations of the type of work that people do, and is linked to participation in the labor force”. This means that it is better for health of an employee either to occupy a position, which reflects completely one’s interests and brings pleasure, or avoid working on a job, which one hates, as after a significant period of time performing the same job, it is possible that an individual might fall into a depression.

Negative outcome

First, lack of working activity has also been found to have a negative effect on the health of an individual. Of course, non-work period can be defined by the long-term sickness, mental derogation, as well as disability. At the same time, these health issues can also be a result of a long economic inactivity (Bartley Sacker & Schoon 2005). In both cases, this situation leads to increasing stress, which is found to be a very powerful negative influence on an individual. The research indicates that these factors also vary much depending on the gender. In addition, “both economic activity and mental health are very differently distributed according to gender. In both men and women, those with poor psychological health at age 23 were a great deal less likely to be employed or actively seeking work 10 years later” (Bartley Sacker & Schoon 2005 ).

As stated above, working less can be explained by the need to invest more time for family and household. More specifically, one of the negative sides of the conflicting work and non-work environments, are accounted to women with families, or children (220).

Nevertheless, not working at all in order to have a possibility to spend more time with friends and relatives causes another problem – lack of financial support. Callister (2005) analyses the findings of changing in the paid working from 1989 to 2001. These findings indicate that not only each member of the family is required to work in order to support the family, but working extra in general is necessary (164). Allan, Loudoun & Peetz (2007) state that “work/non-work conflict is most acute for female workers as they usually perform an uneven distribution of family and household duties” (222). In such a way, the mothers are unable to perform equally good both at work and at home. Seeking for a resolution of this conflict the government has found a solution in creating specific non-work paid maternity leaves. However, the problem is that lack of labor results in slight psychological, emotional and psychosocial shifts in the consciousness of an individual, which is also counted as a secondary negative effect of the non-work.


The conflict between the work and non-work conflict as well as the positive and negative effects both of them lead is a sphere of growing interest. Both work and non-work have positive and negative effects on the lives of the individuals, as well as can be both stressful for the individuals. Klitzman, House and Israel (1989) have indicated in their research that “interference of work with non-work and ruminations about work are more a function of job stressors than no job stressors” (29). It is important for an individual to find a balance between work and non-work, in order to hold a well-balanced vital position. Whereas, working longer hours for a significant period of time can indeed lead to career and wage growth, possibility to buy luxury, help the industry to grow, become more integrated and committed into an industry, it can also lead to lack of time for family responsibilities, friends and family emotional bond, etc. Allan, Loudoun & Peetz (2007) write that “studies highlighting the link between work/non-work conflict and fatigue, stress, burnout, psychological well-being, depressed mood and physical symptoms”. Even though non-work helps to raise the level of emotional and psychological state helps to reduce stress and avoid routine, and the possibilities to get injured, or be exposed to hazards at work, it also causes dissatisfaction with life and intervenes self-fulfillment. For this reason, despite the numerous suggestions by the scientists and the researchers the conflict between work and non-work should be resolved on an individual basis.

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