Doctoral Thesis Flexible Working Practices: How Employees Can Reap the Benefits for Engagement and Performance

Defended on Friday, 12 May 2017


Technological developments such as the advent of laptops, mobile devices, and related new communication channels (e.g., social and business networks, instant messaging programs) enabled the uptake of flexible working practices in knowledge work organizations. A flexible working policy allows employees to determine where they work, when they work, and how they work. Even though flexible working practices enjoy great popularity among knowledge work organizations, the effects of such practices are poorly understood. From research findings so far, a clear case for flexible working practices cannot be made, as studies have shown that flexible working practices lead to positive, negative, and zero effects for performance and well-being. Hence, organizations, scholars, and employees are left behind with these equivocal findings producing a lack of understanding of whether and how employees and their organizations can reap the benefits of flexible working practices. This dissertation uncovered that performance and well-being gains through flexible working practices can be achieved. In particular, the results of this dissertation (a) revealed that employees themselves need to become proactive in the form of time-spatial job crafting and media job crafting if they want to reap the benefits of flexible working practices (b) emphasize that understanding the effects of increases in spatial flexibility inside the office building (activity-based areas) for performance and health outcomes requires to take on a process evaluation approach and (c) uncovered that perceived workplace flexibility positively relates to work engagement and predicts performance over time; thereby this dissertation presented a model of flexibility development that enables employees to reap performance and work engagement benefits over time.


Flexible working practices, activity-based areas, office redesign, performance, work engagement, work-life balance, job crafting, conceptual work, diary study, quasi-experiment, longitudinal study

Time frame

2013 - 2016

Preferred reference

C. Wessels, Flexible Working Practices: How Employees Can Reap the Benefits for Engagement and Performance, Eric van Heck,


Christina Wessels
Christina Wessels

Supervisory Team

Eric van Heck
Professor of Information Management and Markets
  • Promotor
Karin Proper
  • Copromotor
  • Member Supervisory Team
MichaƩla Schippers
Endowed Professor in Behaviour and Performance Management
  • Copromotor

Committee Members

Jan Dul
Professor of Technology and Human Factors
Steffen Giessner
Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Change
Clare Kelliher
Clare Kelliher