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Exploring the Work-Life Challenges Faced by Managers and Professionals Who Live Alone

Wilkinson, K and Tomlinson, K and Gardiner, J (2017) Exploring the Work-Life Challenges Faced by Managers and Professionals Who Live Alone. Work, Employment and Society, 31 (4). pp. 640-656. ISSN 1469-8722

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Abstract

This article aims to question the dominant understanding of work–life balance or conflict as primarily a ‘work–family’ issue. It does this by exploring the experiences of managers and professionals who live alone and do not have children – a group of employees traditionally overlooked in work–life policy and research but, significantly, a group on the rise within the working age population. Semi-structured interviews with 36 solo-living managers and professionals were carried out in the UK, spanning a range of occupations. In addition to previously identified work–life issues, four themes emerged that were pressing for and specific to solo-living managers and professionals. These are articulated here as challenges and dilemmas relating to: assumptions about work and non-work time; the legitimacy of their work–life balance; lack of support connected to financial and emotional well-being; and workbased vulnerabilities.

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