As a result of the increased number of dual-earner families and the widespread availability of information and communication technology, the boundaries between work and non-work have become blurred. Today, work is no longer necessarily spatially, temporally, and socially distinct from home. As a consequence, the amount of research into the work–home interface has increased. For example, statistics from the United States indicate that over 45% of employed parents feel that work interferes with their family life (negative work–home interaction; Bond, Thompson, Galinsky, and Prottas, 2003). Even higher percentages (58%) have been reported for the Canadian workforce (Duxbury and Higgins, 2001).
Work may also have positive consequences for functioning at home (Carlson, Kacmar, Wayne, and Grzywacz, 2006; Geurts et al., 2005; Greenhaus and Powell, 2006), for example because skills, positive moods, and acquired knowledge spill over to private life, helping workers to “become a better family member” (positive work–home interaction, Carlson et al., 2006). Similarly, the home situation may also interfere with or enhance functioning at work, for instance because one worries about one's children being ill (negative home–work interaction) or because positive moods spill over to the work situation (positive home–work interaction). Thus, work–home interaction may be defined as a process in which a worker's functioning in one domain is influenced by (negative or positive) load reactions that have built up in the other domain (Geurts, Kompier, Roxburgh, and Houtman, 2003).