Extended work availability and its relation with start-of-day mood and cortisol

J Occup Health Psychol. 2016 Jan;21(1):105-18. doi: 10.1037/a0039602. Epub 2015 Aug 3.


The opportunity to work at any time and place, which is facilitated by mobile communication technologies, reinforces employer expectations that employees are available for work beyond regular work hours. This study investigates the relation of daily extended work availability with psychological and physiological well-being and the mediating role of recovery experiences. We hypothesized that recovery is limited under conditions of extended work availability, which may impair well-being. A sample of 132 individuals from 13 organizations provided daily survey measures over a period of 4 days during which they were required to be available during nonworking hours and 4 days during which they were not required to be available. A subsample of 51 persons provided morning cortisol levels in addition to the survey data. The analysis of within-person processes using multilevel structural equation modeling revealed significant effects of extended work availability on the daily start-of-day mood and cortisol awakening response. Mediation analysis revealed that the recovery experience of control over off-job activities mediated the observed relationship with start-of-day mood but not the relationship with the cortisol awakening response. The results demonstrate that nonwork hours during which employees are required to remain available for work cannot be considered leisure time because employees' control over their activities is constrained and their recovery from work is restricted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Family Relations
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology*
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / psychology*


  • Hydrocortisone