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Work-life balance and gig work. ‘Where are we now’ and ‘where to next’ with the work-life balance agenda?

Warren, Tracey



The paper asks ‘Where are we’ in the study of work-life balance within IR and ‘where to next’ if we are to identify levers for positive change in workplace gender equality as technology brings the potential for smoothing or disrupting how women and men from different class groups work and care. It first shines a classed lens on the mainstream worklife balance agenda to pinpoint limitations in its heavy focus on the time squeezes reported by financially-secure middle class workers and its neglect of money matters. Then, via an enhanced conceptualisation, the paper considers the ramifications of the growth in gig work for work-life balance. Gig work is promoted as offering flexibility and autonomy, enabling carers to work and care, but it is performed without the safety nets that are more common in formal employment. It can bring unpredictability in both work-time and income, work intensification and financial hardship that all impact work-life balance. ‘Where to next’ is developing a more inclusive approach that recognises gender, class and other types of diversity in order to lever workplace gender equality for all.


Warren, T. (2021). Work-life balance and gig work. ‘Where are we now’ and ‘where to next’ with the work-life balance agenda?. Journal of Industrial Relations, 63(4), 522-545.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 30, 2021
Publication Date 2021-09
Deposit Date Mar 15, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 30, 2021
Journal Journal of Industrial Relations
Print ISSN 0022-1856
Electronic ISSN 1472-9296
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 63
Issue 4
Pages 522-545
Public URL
Publisher URL


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