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Leisure Studies
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The integration of paid work and the rest of life. Is postindustrial work the new leisure?
Suzan Lewis
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Department of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 OJA, UK Published online: 24 Jun 2010.

To cite this article: Suzan Lewis (2003) The integration of paid work and the rest of life. Is postindustrial work the new leisure?, Leisure Studies, 22:4, 343-345, DOI: 10.1080/02614360310001594131 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614360310001594131

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Leisure Studies 22 (October 2003) 343355

The integration of paid work and the rest of life. Is post-industrial work the new leisure?
SUZAN LEWIS
Department of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 OJA, UK

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Two current contradictory trends in Britain are (a) increased interest in the integration of work and personal life, including leisure often termed work-life balance and (b) blurred work non-work boundaries. This paper explores a number of explanations for the apparent dominance of paid work in many peoples lives and considers whether postindustrial work is becoming indistinguishable from leisure, as an activity of choice and source of enjoyment. Long working hours among workers with most autonomy are often explained in terms of personal choice, but it is argued here that this neglects the gendered, societal and organisational constraints on choice, identity and perceived obligations. The paper concludes that post industrial work cannot simply be considered the new leisure, but that the relative blurring of the boundaries between work and leisure do pose some important questions for the future. The issues are illustrated by qualitative data from a study of working patterns among Chartered Accountants.

Introduction Paid work is increasingly dominating peoples lives. Far from the rise in leisure once predicted from the technological revolution, many people are now working longer and more intensively than ever. In this context issues relating to the integration of paid work and the rest of life, often referred to as work-life balance, have become hot topics in recent Government, employer and union discussions (DfEE, 2000; DTI, 2001; Hogarth et al., 2001; TUC, 2001), in the media, and in everyday language. However, the issues are not new. Questions such as whether it is possible to succeed in occupational life without sacrificing personal life have grown out of a long tradition of research and discussion on the interface between work and the rest of life. This has become ever more pressing in the contemporary context. As time expands in the global 24-hour market place, and space and distance are compressed by information and communication technology, temporal and spatial boundaries between paid work and personal life have become increasingly blurred. This may bring new opportunities and horizons for the most highly educated and skilled knowledge workers to work when and where they choose, but it also presents new challenges. For some, work is increasingly interesting, absorbing and challenging, with potential to enhance positive well-being, but it can also encroach into all of workers time and space, crowding out personal life
Leisure Studies ISSN 0261-4367 print/ISSN 1466-4496 online 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals DOI: 10.1080/02614360310001594131

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and leisure. It could be argued that many forms of post-industrial work, which dominate peoples lives, are becoming the new leisure. Work is what people choose to spend their time on and enjoy doing. On the other hand excessive workloads can be experienced as oppressive. Often the uncertainty and intensification of work (Burchall et al., 2002) can deplete energy as well as time for other activities, and long working hours have been associated with a decline in well-being (Sparks et al., 1997; Worral and Cooper, 2001). Of course, there are still those who have too much personal time and not enough work, including the unemployed and those who can find only part-time jobs in flexible labour markets. However, this paper focuses on those in work, particularly in post-industrial, knowledge work (where productivity is based on the application of knowledge rather than the production of goods) in what have been termed greedy occupations (Coser, 1974). The discussion is illustrated by qualitative data based on interviews with 50 Chartered Accountants which were part of a larger quantitative and qualitative study of flexible working among the accountancy profession in Britain1 (Lewis et al., 2001). The study was commissioned by the professional body2 to examine flexible working arrangements as a tool for retention, recruitment and efficiency. However, it became clear from the initial questionnaires returned by 670 accountants that flexible working policies were largely irrelevant in the context of a norm of long working hours. The interviews, in the second phase of the research therefore explored the factors supporting and perpetuating these norms. In accountancy, work takes up a great deal of time and energy, as it does in most white collar and professional work in the contemporary context (Drago, 2001; Perlow, 1998; Yakura, 2001), and also appears to be linked with a sense of enjoyment for many accountants, creating challenges for the integration of work, personal life and leisure. The paper first discusses contested definitions of work and leisure, before going on to explore the background to current debates on work and personal life, including leisure. The issue of whether the dominance of paid work denotes a new form of leisure or whether it is perceived as taking away time and energy from personal life and leisure rests partly on the notion of choice which in turn can be related to enjoyment and identity. The subsequent sections therefore explore a range of explanations for the growing dominance of paid work in many peoples lives, including the role of free versus constrained choices, identity and sense of enjoyment. Work and leisure Both work and leisure are contested terms. Work is often defined in terms of obligated time, whether paid or unpaid. This paper focuses on paid work, via employment. The nature of paid work has changed for many people, particularly those engaged in knowledge work. Work is increasingly enjoyable and seductive and the boundaries between work and leisure are often blurred (Sullivan and Lewis, 2001). For example, the use of the Internet can be for work and/or leisure. Location does not clarify the distinction as the Internet may be used at the workplace for leisure or at home for work purposes. Whether this activity is constructed as work or leisure is likely to depend on motivations, intentions or satisfaction.

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Leisure is often constructed as the antithesis of work, that is non-obligated time, activities which are perceived as freely chosen, intrinsically motivated (Iso-Ahola, 1997), even a relief from work, though definitions solely in terms of free time have proved problematic (Thompson et al., 2002). One problem has been that this obscures the gendered nature of choice in the use of time. Women, especially those with family commitments, often feel less entitled than men to free time other than family time (Kay, 2002). Other definitions focus on psychological meanings and perspectives, for example, leisure activities are often defined in terms of state of mind, enjoyment and opportunities for self-expression (e.g., Kleiber, 1999). This might imply that leisure is experienced more positively than work, although studies of positive well-being, enjoyment and flow suggest that these are more often experienced in relation to employment than leisure experiences (Haworth, 1997). Leisure is defined in this paper in terms of two major activityrelated components: non-obligated time, that is activities that are freely chosen, (acknowledging the gender issues here) and activities associated with a sense of enjoyment (Thompson et al., 2002). I consider the possibility that the changing nature of work and the apparent free choice made by many people to spend increasing lengths of time in employment related activities, beyond the time for which they are remunerated and obligated, together with the apparent enjoyment of much knowledge work, contribute to a situation in which work is becoming indistinguishable from leisure. Background to current work-personal life debates One approach to research on work-personal life issues was initially conceived in terms of work and family, but has evolved over four decades, against the backdrop of ongoing social and workplace change (Lewis and Cooper, 1999). It began in the 1960s, stimulated by the influx of women, especially mothers, into all areas of the labour market, challenging the notion that work and family were independent, gendered, spheres, an assumption that had prevailed since the industrial revolution. Much of the research that followed examined the potential stress and conflict involved in managing both work and family roles, initially focusing on women (especially mothers), but later acknowledging to some extent that men also have multiple roles. As attention turned to the issues facing both women and men the nature of the links between experiences of work and family came under scrutiny. Research examined the potential for role conflict and the permeability of work and family boundaries: for example, examining whether experiences such as stress and satisfaction are compartmentalized into work and family domains, or whether they spill over from one to the other. Most of the research evidence suggests that the boundaries are relatively weak. For example, stress at work can spill over into the home, and cross over to affect family members. Equally, experiences at home affect people at work, although the effects are different for men and women (Greenhaus and Parasuraman, 1999). The evidence is not, however, entirely negative. Multiple roles can create the potential for stress and conflict, but can also create opportunities for multiple sources of satisfaction and well-being. For example, in a recent study of employed parents of disabled children, many of the mothers talked of the way in which their

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paid work protected them against stress, providing an alternative source of pleasure (Lewis et al., 2000; Kagan et al., 1999). The problem is that in the contemporary context employment often leaves little time or energy for other activities and sources of satisfaction or enjoyment. The term work-life emerged in the 1990s and replaced discussions of work and family. Work-life debates aimed to be more gender neutral and inclusive, embracing the needs of men as well as women, of those with family responsibilities other than children, and, importantly, the needs of those without current family responsibilities who just want to have a life beyond the workplace, including leisure (Lewis et al., 2000). This shifting discourse and focus on work and personal life also reflected the changes that were taking place in the growth of a knowledge economy, which have challenged the very notions of work-family, work-personal life or workleisure boundaries. White collar and professional workers in particular, have increasingly more permeable boundaries between their work and the rest of life, although they are also likely to have more personal control over these boundaries than other workers. Recent models of the work-life interface therefore move beyond the notion of experiences spilling over from one sphere to the other, which construct the worker as passive and reactive. They now focus on the proactive ways in which knowledge workers actively integrate their work and non-work lives (Greenhaus and Parasuraman, 1999) or negotiate meanings, as they move between work and the other areas of their lives (Campbell Clark, 2000). What has characterized all this literature, however, is the assumption that some form of boundaries between work and non-work activities still exist. The reality is that these boundaries are becoming fuzzier and may be crowding out time and energy for personal life and leisure in the post-industrial era. Work-life policies and flexible working arrangements Growing awareness of these issues whether articulated as work-family or work and personal life heralded the development of what became known initially as family friendly employment policies, or more recently work-life or flexible working policies. They were implemented ostensibly to enhance well-being and equal opportunities but, in reality, were largely driven by business concerns such as recruitment and retention. These policies include support for childcare and other family responsibilities, as well as flexible working arrangements (the opportunity to vary where and when work is accomplished). They also include opportunities for working less, including part-time or reduced hours. However, take up of opportunities to work flexibly or reduced hours, whether for family or leisure, tends to be low, particularly among men, but also career oriented women and especially in white collar work where to do so is frequently perceived as career limiting (Lewis et al., 2002; Perlow, 1998). One theory is that the effectiveness of flexible or work-life policies depends on the extent to which they provide workers with the autonomy and control to work out their own work and non-work schedules and boundaries, and there has been some support for this explanation (Thomas and Ganster, 1995). On the other hand recent research looking particularly at professional, managerial or other knowledge workers suggests that work-life policies and

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personal control may be largely irrelevant in these contexts. These workers are most likely to have access to formal or informal flexibility and support. And yet, paradoxically, it is these very workers who have most control over their own working hours and who can be flexible to fit in family and leisure who are under the most pressure. They often use flexibility to work more rather than fewer hours (Holt and Thaulow, 1996; Perlow, 1998; Lewis, 2001; Sullivan and Lewis, 2001). This is exemplified in home-based teleworking, where the blurred spatial and temporal boundaries between work and non work are often associated with work intruding into non work time (Sullivan and Lewis, 2001; Hill et al., 1998). Work that has no clear boundaries and can never be clearly completed can lure workers away from other activities at any time of the day or night. As communication and information technology enables more people to work at home for part of the working week, in evenings and at weekends, or on trains and planes, in hotels or at the gym, boundaryless work can intrude into the lives of ever growing numbers of workers. Though both men and women tend to get caught up in these blurred boundaries, women often feel less free to choose to work long hours because of family commitments (Lewis et al., 2002; Sullivan and Lewis, 2001). Thus just as leisure is highly gendered, with women less able than men to preserve the boundaries between leisure and other activities (Kay, 2002) the autonomy to use flexible working arrangements to prioritize work is also gendered. Why is work crowding out personal life and leisure for many people? Some low paid workers have always had to work long and hard to make a living, often in more than one job. What is different now is that it is not just the low paid who are working more and more, and extra hours are not always associated with additional pay or with clearly obligated time. Working hours in Britain are the longest in Europe and within these hours there is an intensification of work people are working harder as well as longer (Burchall et al., 2002). There have been many attempts to explain the perverse findings that flexible working arrangements do not necessarily enhance work-personal life integration and that, indeed, in the contemporary context highly skilled workers are the most likely to work long and intensive hours. There has been considerable debate, especially in the US, about the extent to which the dominance of paid work in peoples lives can be explained by choice, autonomy and enjoyment (work as the new leisure), or by organisational constraints and new ways of controlling workers (Maume and Bellas, 2001; Clarkberg and Moen, 2001). The dominance of work as a personal choice One argument is that the dominance of work over other activities is often a personal choice. A 50-year-old male partner in a small accountancy firm illustrates this, stating: I have always worked the hours that I do because I have chosen to do so, not because I have been forced to do it. This was common among the accountants we interviewed, both men and women (Lewis et al., 2002), but also in many studies of other occupations (Drago, 2001; Perlow, 1998; Yakura, 2001).

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This choice is variously attributed to the potentially absorbing and satisfying nature of much post-industrial work, and to personality, professional identity and wider societal contexts that equate self worth with intense work involvement and career achievements. It is likely that all these interrelated factors contribute to some extent to the construction of long working hours as a life choice. The absorbing nature of post-industrial work. Arlie Hochschild (1997) has argued that for many people, at least in the US, work has become more satisfying than home. Paid work can be absorbing and stimulating and is the source of recognition and status while home becomes just hard work, especially for parents of young children. The more time is spent at the workplace, the more difficult relationships become at home, which reinforces the desire to spend time at work. Work becomes a refuge from home, rather than home as a refuge from work, as was assumed to be the case in industrial times. It should be noted however, that while this might be the case for some people, the prevalence of this phenomenon is contested (Maume and Bellas, 2001). The potentially stimulating and absorbing nature of much post-industrial work may also explain why, when technology enables the permeation of work and non work boundaries, it is so often work which become most alluring (Sullivan and Lewis, 2001). One possible consequence of blurred boundaries is that this enables workers to be flexible, fitting in their work and non-work demands where and when they are convenient. Indeed it can be argued that some professionals and others who are not subject to constant management surveillance have always had some flexibility to integrate work and personal life. But for many of these workers, both men and women, the pull of work in the home is often strong and even oppressive. The flexibility to work at home as well as at the workplace often extends the working day rather than just reshaping it. While a certain amount of flexibility may be useful for integrating paid work with other activities, too much flexibility can create difficulties (Prutchno et al., 2000). So, it is not just that work has become home or home has become work as Hochschild (1997) suggested, but rather blurred boundaries make the two increasingly indistinguishable. Furthermore this raises fundamental issues about what is work when it is knowledge work that spills over into time and space. If someone is totally absorbed in work that they enjoy, and not paid for extra hours (as is usually the case for knowledge workers), how is that different from leisure, if at all? The driven personality. Although few workers may be prepared to admit that work is more satisfying than home, many claim to be self-driven, and to achieve intense satisfaction and enjoyment from total involvement in work (Lewis et al., 2002, Hochschild, 1998). For example in our study of Chartered Accountants many claimed to thrive on long intense hours of work:
I work longer hours than I am contracted to work, but a lot of that is just because of the way I enjoy doing things. (42-year-old man, senior audit manager, large firm)

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Despite this expression of a sense of enjoyment, further analysis indicates that this is also entwined with a sense of obligation or inevitability. Nevertheless, this tends

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to be constructed as a free choice. For example, most of the accountants in our study had very high and sometimes unrealistic self-expectations, which contribute to what are perceived as self imposed heavy workloads and long hours:
Im just one of those people who just likes things to be right. Ill put in a bit of extra time if it means that its getting it right, and impressing people. (30-year-old man, audit manager, large firm) I think the main pressures are self-imposed to be fair . . . its a personal battle permanently trying to deliver the things you feel you should be able to deliver. (35-yearold woman, communications manager, large firm)

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This self attribution of a driven personality is reflected in a theory of mastery orientation postulated by Kofodimos (1993). Kofodimos argues that executives who are high in mastery orientation derive their major source of self esteem and satisfaction from intense work involvement and career achievement. While this may be viewed as an individual, personality characteristic, it is also strongly related to occupational socialization and identity. Occupational identity. In the accountancy profession notions of professional identity are closely tied up with the social representation of the client and the client-professional relationship. High personal standards tend to be justified in terms of service to or pleasing clients:
I hate the phrase super-pleasing . . . but yeah, its the bit where youre prepared to put the hours in to get something done cos the clients giving you . . . (an) unrealistic deadline but you get it done and it pleases. (40-year-old man, senior manager, medium sized firm)

Anderson-Gough et al., (2000) argue that the social construction of the client is a central concept in the socialisation process of accountants and in the emergence of professional identity. In particular, notions of client service and professionalism that imply constant availability are integral parts of professional identity. That is, the prevailing discourse of the priority of the client, which is both part of a service ethic and also based in commercialism (the client pays the bills), shapes notions of professionalism in terms of displaying appropriate behaviours, especially constant availability. Long working hours thus become professional identity affirming. Identity affirming behaviours can and do become absorbing, challenging and exciting (Thompson and Bunderson, 2001; Kofodimos, 1993) and hence the boundaries between work and non-work can become blurred often resulting in workaholism. This discourse of client service as a central plank of accountants professional identity is highly gendered, in that it promotes work patterns based on assumptions of traditional male provider families and excludes substantial involvement in family care or other activities. It also leads to assumption of inevitability, so that the possibility of working in other ways, which may be equally professional and identity affirming, but less all encompassing, is not explored. People often talk about choice and working long hours because they enjoy the work; because the vision of other choices is limited. Often responses

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are contradictory in this respect. For example, a senior partner in a medium sized accountancy firm who spoke enthusiastically about how he enjoyed and indeed thrived on hours of work which included working until 2 am on most weekdays, on being asked if he got a buzz from working in this way, replied:
Err, I dont know . . . I dont know . . . I dont . . . it feels as though theres not too much choice if Im gonna do it properly.

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Similar processes have been observed in other occupations (Drago, 2001; Perlow, 1998; Yakura, 2001). Nor is this limited to highly paid professionals, nor those who charge by the hour. For example, Drago (2001) argues that among teachers in the US the notion of the ideal worker, incorporating an ideal of teachers as highly trained experts worthy of respect and highly committed to their students, presses teachers towards a norm of long hours of work. He argues that teachers have promoted this image against an earlier model, which cast them as mothers of students. Long working hours may be constructed as a choice, and may or may not be enjoyable but they are not necessarily constructed as nonobligatory when considered in relation to professional identity. Social contextual values. Occupational identity is of course constructed within a given social context. Choices made to prioritize work and limit time for other activities are constrained to some extent by social factors. There is a danger that explanations of the dominance of paid work in peoples lives which focus on the individual tend to underestimate the constraints under which choices and identities are constructed. Although Hochschild and Kofodimos appear to be offering individual level explanations of the dominance of work in many peoples lives, both relate the tendency to overwork to social values which equate self-worth with hard work in paid employment, mastery and career success. They note that status and self-esteem are linked to work rather other activities or obligations. Thus while there are clearly some people who thrive on long working hours, at least in some stages of the life cycle, and for whom work is as, or more satisfying than leisure, this must be understood within wider social contexts and constraints. In particular contexts where recognition and self esteem are mainly derived from occupational achievements, where occupational or professional skills and competencies are constructed in terms of constant availability to clients or others, and where non work activities are undervalued, active choice is constrained. Further crucial constraints on choice stem from the changing nature of work and workplaces, as discussed below. Explanations focusing on structural and cultural constraints Organizational change and the intensification of work. Individualistic attributions for long working hours tend to be associated with self-blame. Workers in a wide range of contexts talk about how they are trying to cut down on their extra working hours, to make time for family and/or leisure. Yet they assume that they are to blame for these long hours, failing in the process to recognize the unrealistic growth in their workloads (Daniels et al., 2001; Brannen et al., 2001). Rather than questioning unrealistic workloads or counterproductive working practices and cultures, they believe that they just need to work more effectively or develop

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better time management skills. They seek individual rather than systemic change (Rapoport et al., 2002). Choice may be an illusion when working harder and longer is an inevitable consequence of changes in work and organizations. Long working hours and the intensification of work are often a consequence of fewer people with more work to be accomplished, so that high workloads are inevitable. In response to global competition in the private sector and the pursuit of best value and budget cutting in the public sector, drastic organizational changes create an intensification of work for those who survive downsizing and efficiency drives. New forms of work such as call centres, the trend for escalating targets and insecure forms of employment, also create pressure and increased work demands (Burchall et al., 2002; Brannen et al., 2001). These changes in contemporary workplaces often involve providing employees with more autonomy and also the responsibility for getting work done that goes with this. This responsibility tends to be internalized and the consequent extension of work is then constructed as a choice. For example, in a study of two retail banks undergoing rapid change, workers talked about how they now had greater autonomy and flexibility to organise when they worked. This was often used to work longer, for example through lunch time. This in turn was often viewed as a positive choice (Brannen et al., 2001). As in other occupations, the impact of increased competition was also evident in our study of accountants. Often partners quoted unrealistically low fees to clients in order to compete with other firms. As accountants charge for their work by the hour, low fees increase pressure and intensification of work for the team assigned to a particular account:
. . . there was a chance we were going to lose the client and as a result we cut fees so wed do it in less time. Fees are so competitive that we end up having fees which its just not realistic to meet. (25-year-old woman supervisor, large firm)

When the work could not be completed in the time quoted, members of the team working on an account often put in extra hours, but were reluctant to claim for these. This was because they either felt that they looked incompetent, or were worried about not being competitive if they had to raise fees (Lewis et al., 2002). The extra hours thus become invisible. Since there is not only pressure to accomplish work within less time but also pressure to put in as many chargeable hours as possible, this led to both long and intense hours of working. These pressures arise from both structural and cultural forces. Again, however, most accountants constructed this extra work as their personal choice. Organizational culture. Perlow (1998) argues that flexible working policies and the view that work-personal life conflict can be reduced by providing workers with flexibility, were applicable to workers in industrial times who were managed by the clock and lacked control over their working hours. While some continue to work in this way, this is not the case among the growing numbers of knowledge workers in post-industrial times, who are, Perlow contends, managed not by the clock, but by organizational culture. She proceeds to argue that managers use organizational culture to control subordinates boundaries between work and

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personal lives, by the various ways in which they cajole, encourage, coerce or otherwise influence the amount of time employees spend visibly at the workplace (Perlow, 1998, p. 329). They do this by, for example, overtly valuing and rewarding long hours at the workplace. When commitment and productivity are difficult to quantify, as they are in most knowledge work, then they are often measured by workers willingness to work late to meet a series of deadlines, or simply to get the work done (Lewis, 1997; Lewis and Taylor, 1996; Lewis et al., 2001). The assumption that only those who are working long hours of face time are committed or productive has been widely observed (Bailyn, 1993; Lewis, 1997; 2001). This assumption obscures the value of alternative, and often more efficient, ways of working which workers often develop in order to meet the competing demands of work and nonwork responsibilities (Lewis, 1997; Perlow, 1998; Rapoport et al., 2002).
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Gendered organizational cultures. Organizational cultures are not gender neutral (Acker, 1990). There is often an overvaluing of traditional behaviours based on the view that ideal workers do not have other time obligations, which is deeply gendered:
Its about commitment and I was even told that, because I had to get home to relieve the nanny, I wasnt able to go for a drink in the pub after work with everyone you know, I wasnt participating. It was just completely, you know, the culture was all set up, I have to say around the, the white middle-class professional male . . . they could not accept that you could show commitment in other ways . . . and that what mattered was getting the job done and bringing the fees in and pleasing the clients. (43-year-old, woman accountant, large firm).

Assumptions such as the association of long working hours with commitment privileges a male definition of commitment based on the assumed separation of the public and private spheres, but serves the needs of neither women nor men and undermines possibilities for work-life integration (Rapoport et al., 2002; Lewis, 1997; 2001). In our study of accountants we found that some working hours are valued more than others. Those accountants who work from 9 am to 6 pm are considered committed workers, while those who work from 8 am until 5 pm, or 7 am until 4 pm are regarded as virtually part-timers because they go home early. Thus some non-work activities such as taking children to school are legitimized while other such as spending time with children after school are not. Taking children to school is viewed as something that can be done en route to paid work (by implication the primary role), while collecting children from school (more often done by women) implies that family is the primary activity. The few men in our study who did take up flexible working arrangements did so for leisure purposes, while the women primarily did so for family reasons. There was a view that, for men, modifying work for leisure was more acceptable than doing so for family, while the reverse was felt to be true for women (Lewis et al., 2002), again reflecting gendered norms and cultures. Whether postindustrial work is becoming an aspect of, or remains distinct from, leisure, women especially those with family commitments retain a lower sense of entitlement to make unconstrained choices in both domains.

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The idea that certain types of work have become so engaging that they have become the new leisure rests upon the notion that long hours of work are a choice, rather than obligatory, and are experienced as enjoyable. While many people find their work engrossing and enjoyable, the choice to allocate more time to this and less to other activities must, like any choices, be understood within specific contexts. The current context includes the value placed by society on work-based achievement which becomes a major source of self-esteem and identity, fundamental shifts in the nature of work, developments in information technology and deep seated gendered workplace cultures which lag behind todays realities. Some people certainly report a sense of enjoyment from intense involvement in work, but even this is difficult to disentangle from a sense of obligation or constrained choice of sources of self-esteem. The construction as individual choice of working patterns which crowd out time for personal life has implications for how this is dealt with. Solutions tend to be sought at the individual level. People try to adapt to ever increasing workloads by working harder and smarter, often constructing this as an active choice because it is difficult to envisage deriving the rewards of identity affirming work in any other way. The recognition of the impact of the organization of work and workplace cultures on working patterns and the construction of the issues as systemic rather than individual implies a need to address work structures and the assumptions on which they are based, rather than just individual factors, in future research. Thus, despite the apparent choice of workers with the most autonomy to work longer and harder, and the lower sense of entitlement of women to indulge in long working hours, reflecting the gendered nature of leisure, post-industrial work cannot be unproblematically regarded as the new leisure. At the same time, the blurring of work and non-work boundaries, whether influenced primarily by individual or contextual factors, does raise a number of fundamental questions about the nature of paid work and its consequences. It is increasingly unclear what is work for the knowledge worker and how it differs from non-work activities, if at all. Often work-personal life balance or integration is held up as an ideal. Do we need work-life balance, or are imbalance and fragmentation acceptable or even preferable in some circumstances? Do we need some temporal and spatial boundaries between work and other aspects of life, or not? Do some people need stronger boundaries than others, or at different life stages, such as when they have heavy family responsibilities or are particularly involved in certain leisure activities? Work is not the new leisure for most people, but it does appear to be more satisfying than other aspects of life for some. Arguably the valuing of diversity involves accepting those people for whom this is a genuine choice. Nobody criticized Picasso for being totally absorbed in his work. However those who make this choice too often influence workplace cultures and can set impossible standards for others to meet. Moreover, if work is taking over from leisure and other personal activities on a wide scale, we need to examine the broader and long-term effects on individual well-being, families,

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and communities. If current trends continue these may be vital research questions for the early-twenty first century. Notes 1. See Lewis et al., 2002, for more details of the study. 2. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. References
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