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Working in Non-Standard Hours Can Harm Motivation

work desk at night

Working nights and weekends is not necessarily beneficial for the 21st-century workforce.

Credit: Getty Images

Working a non-traditional schedule undermines people's intrinsic motivation for their professional and academic pursuits, according to research from Cornell University.

"Working during time that you've mentally encoded as time off, or as time that should be for a vacation, can make you feel suddenly that your work is less enjoyable," says Kaitlin Woolley, associate professor of marketing in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. 

Woolley and Laura Giurge, assistant professor of behavioral science at London School of Economics and a former postdoctoral research fellow at Cornell, address the issue in "Working During Non-Standard Work Time Undermines Intrinsic Motivation," published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Woolley and Giurge examined the effect of working — and studying, among college students — during non-standard hours (weekends/holidays) versus standard hours (Monday-Friday, 9-to-5).

"It's hard sometimes for workers who aren't in a position of power [to create a work-life balance], whereas I think managers have the responsibility to create that environment for their employees," Woolley says.

From Cornell Chronicle
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