Date of Conferral
Employers' reliance on asynchronous electronic communications, connective technology devices, and remote work arrangements has led employees to feel preoccupied with staying connected after-hours to be responsive to work-related demands. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of professional workers who coped with constant pressure to monitor and immediately respond to work-related electronic communications during nonwork hours. The conceptual framework was supported by boundary and border theory and the constructs of work-life balance, flexible work arrangements, information and communication technology. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with 16 professional workers near Washington, DC. Moustakas's modified van Kaam method was used to analyze, code, and organize data. Six themes emerged: mobilize or immobilize, manage expectations, safeguard personal time, work-life fusion, work engagement, and psychological outcomes. Findings revealed that professional workers felt a sense of urgency to reply to work-related e-mails and text messages outside of their regularly scheduled work hours and felt a sense of professional obligation to be available after-hours. Results may be used to shape and support positive social change through effective organizational change programs for technology-related work-life imbalances, thereby benefiting employers and employees.