Seeking to identify important aspects of pandemic work life, this thesis revolves around the following research question: How has work life changed during the pandemic? Drawing on data from in-depth interviews with employees from four different workplaces, important changes during the pandemic are analyzed, discussed, and conceptualized. The thesis is structured around four sub-questions: (1) How has the role and attitudes towards working from home changed? (2) How have work habits changed? (3) How has the relationship between work time, leisure, and expectations of availability changed? And (4) is there a difference in how trust-based and control-based workplaces dealt with the pandemic?
The theoretical framework for the thesis is built on two main theoretical perspectives: Castells’ theories on the network society, and domestication theory. In addition, the thesis builds on a broad range of existing research, including studies on work—life boundaries, organizational norms, and trust and control in the workplace. The result is a discussion of important changes, as well as a conceptualization of these that gives a broader understanding of work life during this extraordinary situation.
Important findings that will be addressed include changing attitudes towards working from home; how some work habits have changed while others have remained the same; and how trust is maintained when workplaces are distributed across time and space. Further, I propose the concept of separators and mixers to understand how new opportunities for mixing work time and leisure are handled by employees. While some employees still work to maintain a strong work—life boundary, others use these opportunities to mix different parts of life, thus blurring this boundary.