Swanberg, J., Watson, E., & Eastman (2014) Scheduling challenges among workers in low-wage hourly jobs: similarities and differences among workers in standard- and nonstandard-hour jobs. Community, Work and Family.
Watson, E., & Swanberg, J. (2011, May). Flexible workplace solutions for low-wage hourly workers. A framework for a national conversation. Washington, DC: WF2010, Georgetown Law, Georgetown University.
This report brings new insight to a dynamic field of study,advocacy, and business practice that places low-wage workers squarely in the national conversation on workplace flexibility. The scholarship in this area to date has skillfully illuminated the challenges facing workers in jobs requiring nonstandard hours and the disparities in access to flexibility among low-wage and higher-wage workers. This report adds to the scholarship in this area by drilling down to examine low-wage hourly workers’ flexibility needs through the lenses of standard (Monday through Friday daytime schedules) and nonstandard work schedules (anything other than a Monday through Friday daytime schedule) and part-time and full-time work. Examining the scheduling challenges facing these workers at close range, we find tremendous variation within a workforce often considered to be homogeneous. For this report, we undertook new data analysis and drew on existing research. Through this process, we identified three different types of scheduling challenges — rigidity, unpredictability, and instability — that often play out differently for workers on standard and nonstandard, part-time and full-time schedules. We hope that our findings will both broaden and refine the conversation on flexible work arrangements for low-wage hourly workers.
Swanberg, J., McKechnie, S., Ojha, M., & James, J. (2011). Schedule control, supervisor support and work engagement: A winning combination for workers in low-wage hourly jobs? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79, 613-624.
The changing natures of both work and the lives of the U.S. workforce have created an array of challenges for organizations attempting to foster work engagement. To accommodate the work and family needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, many firms are offering flexible work solutions to employees. However, the distribution of these types of organizational resources is unequal, with workers in lower-wage hourly jobs having the least access to any form of flexibility. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of schedule control, as a form of flexible work practice, and work engagement among workers employed in hourly retail jobs. Authors tested a model whereby the relationship between schedule control and work engagement is mediated by schedule satisfaction and perceived supervisor support. A sample of 1343 full-timehourly retail workers was used to address the study’s purpose. Hypothesized relationships were fully or partially supported. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Swanberg, J., James, J., Werner, M., & McKechnie, S. (2008). Workplace flexibility for hourly lower-wage employees: A strategic business practice within one national retail firm. The Psychologist Manager Journal, 11(1), 5-29.
Flexible work options are becoming a popular organizational practice used to assist employees with meeting their work and family responsibilities. However, much of the work–family scholarship and many of the work–family policies offered within organizations focus on forms of workplace flexibility for professional workers, at the exclusion of workers in lower-wage hourly jobs. Using data from interviews with senior managers (N=40), this paper examines the flexible work options offered to workers in lower-wage hourly positions and the associated benefits and challenges to businesses offering flexible work options. Implications for practice and policy are discussed.