The Key to Stop Thinking About Work When You’re Poolside

Topic(s):
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: The role of partners and children for employees' psychological detachment from work and well-being
Authors: Verena C. Hahn & Christian Dormann
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

Your ability to not think about work during leisure time is related to your romantic partner and kids, according to a study by Verena C. Hahn of the University of Muenster and Christian Dormann of Ruhr-University Bochum. Specifically, your ability to not think about work during leisure time is related to the following conditions:

  • your romantic partner’s ability to keep work-life at work
  • your romantic partner’s ability to not think about work during leisure time

So, in sum, your ability to keep work-life boundaries is related to your romantic partner’s ability to keep work-life boundaries. With kids, though, the strength of this relationship is much weaker. Even if your romantic partner is militaristic about keeping work at the office and playing hard during time off, the presence of kids weaken the relationship of this to your own ability to maintain work-life boundaries, thanks to little Tommy and Suzie. Lastly, the authors also found that the ability to enjoy leisure without thinking about the office predicts life satisfaction.

For this study, the sample consisted of 114 heterosexual dual-earner couples, and both partners responded to surveys on detachment, work-home segmentation, and life satisfaction. Sample items such as “During leisure time, I don’t think about work at all” assessed detachment; items such as “I prefer to keep work life at work” assessed work-home segmentation; and items such as “I am satisfied with my life” assessed life satisfaction.