Access denied: employee control of personal communications at work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Many employees experience a strained relationship between their paid work and personal lives. Information and communication technologies present new opportunities for reshaping this relationship. In particular, they challenge the spatial and temporal boundary that typically separates the realms. This article focuses on the way that employees use information and communication technologies to attend to personal life matters during the workday. It examines whether employees take advantage of the technical features of the devices and applications to erode the spatial and temporal boundary or, alternatively, whether they engage in practices that otherwise reconfigure the relationship, such as controlling the flow of communication passing between work and personal life. The article argues that the latter is the case. It demonstrates that employees engage in multi-faceted strategies to restrict boundary permeability. This results in individually nuanced interfaces whereby people from workers’ personal lives have varying levels of access to that worker.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-710
Number of pages17
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Early online date7 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • access denied
  • employee control
  • personal communications
  • work
  • work and personal life relationship
  • boundary
  • ICTs
  • space
  • time


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