Research Paper Working Paper 32
Measuring Work-Life Balance Using Time Diary Data (originally Measuring Work-Life Balance and Degrees of Sociability: a focus on the value of time use data in the assessment of quality of life)
09 Oct 2002
This paper examines how time diaries facilitate the study of work-life balance. We first compare aggregate time spent in paid work, unpaid work, attending to personal needs, and free time across seven countries using the Multinational Time Use Study. We then measure the overlap of work with other activities in two ways. First, we map the timing of episodes of work over the day, and overlay these maps onto maps of leisure time. A social group can be said to have a work-life balance if their peak periods of different activities do not overlap substantially. Second, we measure the total time spent performing multiple activities at the same time, and compare periods of multi-tasking where work is the main focus while other activities occur simultaneously with multi-tasking where work occurs alongside another activity that is the main focus of the diarist's attention. All analysis is broken down by sex and age. There are many qualifications on these results, and the results in this paper are exemplary of what can be done rather than definitive findings.