Flexible working in the UK and its impact on couples’ time coordination

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 15, 2017


The ability to combine work with quality time together as a family is at the heart of the concept of work-life balance. Using previously unexploited data on couples’ work schedules we investigate the effect of flexible working on couples’ coordination of their daily work schedules in the UK. We consider three distinct dimensions of flexible working: flexibility of daily start and finish times (flexitime), flexibility of work times over the year (annualized hours), and generalized control of working hours. We show that having flexitime at work increases a couple’s amount of coordination of their daily work schedules by a half to 1 h, which is double the margin of adjustment enjoyed by couples with no flexitime. The impact is driven by couples with children. In contrast to flexitime, the other two forms of flexible working do not seem to increase synchronous time. Our results suggest that having flexitime plays an important role in relaxing the work scheduling constraints faced by families with young children, and that effective flexible working time arrangements are those that increase the worker’s and not the employer’s flexibility.

Published in

Review of Economics of the Household

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 15 , p.1 -1





Open Access

© The Author(s) 2017

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.



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