Changing work, changing health: Can real work-time flexibility promote health behaviors and well-being?

Phyllis Moen, Erin L. Kelly, Eric Tranby, Qinlei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


This article investigates a change in the structuring of work time, using a natural experiment to test whether participation in a corporate initiative (Results Only Work Environment; ROWE) predicts corresponding changes in health-related outcomes. Drawing on job strain and stress process models, we theorize greater schedule control and reduced work-family conflict as key mechanisms linking this initiative with health outcomes. Longitudinal survey data from 659 employees at a corporate headquarters shows that ROWE predicts changes in health-related behaviors, including almost an extra hour of sleep on work nights. Increasing employees' schedule control and reducing their work-family conflict are key mechanisms linking the ROWE innovation with changes in employees' health behaviors; they also predict changes in well-being measures, providing indirect links between ROWE and well-being. This study demonstrates that organizational changes in the structuring of time can promote employee wellness, particularly in terms of prevention behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-429
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • flexibility
  • gender
  • health behavior
  • natural experiment
  • organizational change
  • schedule control
  • sleep
  • well-being
  • work-family conflict


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