The Families and Work project is sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and San José State University. The Sloan Foundation is interested in learning about the impact of work on family life and the University is committed to understanding the lives of people in the Silicon Valley. We conducted a two-year study, with over 2500 hours of observation conducted over several years, that explored dual income middle class families whose daily lives were shaped by the demands of work and career building. How are such families affected by the intrusions of work? How do they in turn try to manage those intrusions?
The project traced the connections between specific dimensions of work and family life. It identified (1) dimensions of work; (2) how they affect family life; (3) the facets of family life that are affected; (4) the processes by which families manage the demands of work; and (5) how elements of family life are exported from home into the workplace. The project paid special attention to the role of technology in mediating work/family relationships, as well as the significance of cultural variations in family backgrounds. (For details of this projects sample and methodology see the Alfred P. Sloan report) During the course of the project, the impact of busyness as a factor in everyday life struck us as significant and resulted in the book, Busier than Ever, Why American Families can't Slow Down.