Knowledge work, Time, Place and Household



The relations of work to time, place and household are central questions of social research in general and working life research in particular. The main aim of the study is to examine to what extent the nature of knowledge work - captivating in itself and at least partly detachable from a certain time and place - changes the relations of work to time, place and household. This change is conceptualised as a transition from industrial to post-industrial working time regime.





Jouko Nätti PhD, Docent





Our theoretical approach emphasises the increasing role of knowledge in the economy and employment, the nature of knowledge work as a pioneer of the emerging post-industrial working time regime, and the characteristic of time as both linear and socially constructed and gendered.




Aims and data

Empirically, we study the relations of  knowledge work to time, place and household at three levels by using both quantitative and qualitative data.




  • Firstly, at the individual level the study asks whether knowledge work is becoming separated from normal working time (duration, timing, tempo, autonomy) and place (workplace), and what is the relationship between work and non-work (family formation and social life)?
  • Secondly, the study emphasises - besides the individuals - the role of the household: to what extent is knowledge work concentrated in certain households, and how does it influence the gendered division of labour and the use of time between and within (spouses and children) households?
  • Thirdly, the study includes an international comparison between Finland and other EU countries, based on European working conditions surveys.



The analysis is based on both representative Finnish and European secondary data and qualitative interviews.




(1) The main data is the Use of Time -study (1999-2000), collected by Statistics Finland. The data includes use of time diaries and interviews covering 10,561 days and 5332 individuals, which constitute over 3000 households.


(2) Qualitative interviews of knowledge workers. The aim of the interviews is to detach subjective experiences of knowledge workers on work, time and place, everyday time structures and the interaction of work and family.


(3) International comparisons are based on comparative interview-based European working conditions surveys from 1996 (n= 15,986), 2000 (n= 21,703) and 2005.






Key words: knowledge work, time, place, household, working time regime, work-family interaction, international comparison