Americans, who work some of longest hours in the Western world, often complain about lack of free time. But Cristobal Young, an assistant professor of sociology at Stanford University, says the situation is more complex. In a study with colleague Chaeyoon Lim published in Sociological Science, Young discovered that for free time to be satisfying, it must coordinate often with that of friends and loved ones.
Drawing on data from over half a million respondents, the study shows that “both workers and the unemployed experience remarkably similar increases in emotional well-being on weekends and have similar declines in well-being when the workweek begins.” The authors say this is largely because social time increases sharply on weekends for both workers and the unemployed. “Weekend well being is not due to time off work per se but rather is a collectively produced social good stemming from widely shared free time.”
Writing in The New York Times, Young calls time a “network good” -- something that derives its value from being widely shared. Young notes that many workplaces are upping worker flexibility, but says the research suggests, “a disadvantage of these efforts is that they may lead us even further from a weekend-like system…[and] threaten, ultimately, to exacerbate the decline in civic engagement and social contact…”
We want to hear: Do you enjoy your free time more when it enables you to coordinate with those whose companionship you value? Have you taken measures to align free time with friends and family? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.
2/23/2016 02:35:53 pm
In my little book "Sally's Silly Small Step System" I make a comment that "If you're too busy to nourish friendships, you're too busy." And "If you're too busy to be good to yourself, you're too busy."
2/25/2016 10:53:04 am
Thank you Sally! That is a gem and so true. Always good to hear from you.
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