Why are we working harder? In The Flexibility Paradox: Why Flexible Working Leads To (Self-)Exploitation (Polity Press, 2022), Heejung Chung, a professor of sociology and social policy at the University of Kent, looks a contemporary employment practices to tell the story of the rise of flexible working and its impact on workers, individuals, and families. The book sets out the paradox that even though flexible working seems to offer more control over work, it leads to a worse work/life balance and makes more demands on staff. The paradox is also not evenly distributed, and the book pays close attention to the importance of gender in understanding how flexible work interacts with domestic labour to impact on women’s lives. Packed with rich, cross-national data, along with analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the book is essential across social science disciplines and for anyone interested in contemporary working life!

Dave O’Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield.

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