From Work to Life and Back Again: Examining the Digitally-Mediated Work/Life Practices of a Group of Knowledge Workers
This paper presents the results of a qualitative study exploring the technologically-mediated practices of work/life balancing, blurring and boundary-setting of a cohort of professionals in knowledge-intensive roles in Sheffield, a regional city in Northern England. It contributes to a growing body of CSCW research on the complex interweaving of work and non-work tasks, demands and on the boundaries that can be supported or hindered by digital technologies. In the paper, we detail how a cohort of 26 professionals in knowledge-intensive roles devise diverse strategies for handling work and non-work in light of a set of interconnected forces, and we argue that boundary dissolving and work-life blurring, and not just boundary setting and “balancing”, are essential resources within such strategies. We also show how boundary sculpting pertains not only to work pervading personal spheres of life, but also the opposite, and that establishing, softening and dissolving boundaries are practiced to handle situations when the personal seeps into professional life.