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Self-management, freedom, and the future of work: The case of unlimited leave

Self-management, freedom, and the future of work: The case of unlimited leave Article Image

20. June 2023

Join us on 6 December for an inspiring public lecture and discussion with Prof. Dr. Jessica de Bloom, University of Groningen, on "Self-management, freedom, and the future of work: The case of unlimited leave". Imagine a future of work where workers can take as much vacation as they like. But would workers come to work if they could instead be traveling the world, sipping cocktails in a hammock while being paid their regular salary?

Self-management, freedom, and the future of work: The case of unlimited leave

Prof. Dr. Jessica de Bloom
Prof. Dr. Jessica De Bloom
Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Chaired by Dr. Philipp Kerksieck, Public and Organizational Health / Center of Salutogenesis, Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Prevention Institute, University of Zurich

Location
DSI Event room SOC-E-010
Rämistrasse 69, Zurich

Time
6 December, 2023 / 4.00 to 6.30 pm

Entrance free of charge

Abstract
Occupational psychologist Dr. Jessica de Bloom will present findings from two randomized controlled trials on unlimited leave policies in a large company in the financial sector. The experimental groups received an unlimited amount paid vacation for one year, while the control groups kept working under the company´s regular vacation policy. The research consisted of repeated self-report questionnaires, company-recorded data, and semi-structured interviews.
Findings suggest that unlimited leave empowers workers to schedule their work and leisure time in a manner that fits their own interests and needs. Simultaneously, workers need to perform and support their team and company in fulfilling organizational goals. Accordingly, unlimited leave constitutes a prime example of self-management with rises in collective freedom and vertical autonomy redistribution which – paradoxically – jeopardizes individual freedom.
The key question for the future workplace is how self-management work practices such as unlimited leave can be concerted so that autonomy unfolds its liberating potential without simultaneously unleashing self-exploitation and social conflicts.

Bio
Jessica de Bloom is Full Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen (Netherlands). Her research focuses on vanishing boundaries between work- and non-work life as one aspect of today´s rapidly changing working conditions. She is investigating the impact of these changes on employee well-being and performance, as well as the role of modern information and communication technology. A core aim of her work is to generate knowledge to understand topical societal phenomena and to bridge the scientist-practitioner gap by communicating scientific knowledge to a broad audience of scientists from various disciplines, professionals working in the field, students, and broader society.