Journal of Organizational Behavior

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 40 Issue 3 (March 2019), Pages 231-385

On the subjective experience and correlates of downtime at work: A mixed‐method examination (pages 360-381)

Summary In the current paper, we studied downtime at work. Downtime represents a unique aspect of work time, as employees have low workload and more discretion about their activities but are still paid to be at work. Despite its prevalence and potentially significant implications for productivity and well‐being, the experience of downtime has not been a focus in the literature. To study this phenomenon, we first used a qualitative method involving 15 focus groups. Results from 95 employees showed that downtime is distinct from formal breaks and withdrawal behavior and is generally a negative subjective experience. Categories of antecedents of experience and downtime activities were classified. Next, to further explore the phenomenon, and based on Study 1 and relevant literature, we proposed several hypotheses and tested them using an experience sampling method. Results from 86 employees (across 5 workdays and 689 data points) indicated that the amount of downtime was negatively related to day level job satisfaction, job performance, and subjective health. The duration of relaxation activities during downtime mitigated the negative effects of downtime on fatigue. The effects of enjoyment level of the activities, job autonomy, work engagement, and boredom proneness were also examined. Implications, limitations, and future research are discussed.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>