Communication Technology and Social Support to Navigate Work/Life Conflict During Covid-19 and Beyond

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Drawing on a national survey of 447 U.S. workers who transitioned to remote work during COVID-19, this study examined how different types of communication technologies (CTs) used for work and private life were associated with work/life conflicts and perceptions of social support across different relationship types (coworker, family, and friends). Findings indicated that work/life conflicts became aggravated when the use of CTs violated relational norms (e.g., mobile texting with coworkers and emailing with family and friends). On the other hand, uses of CTs that were perceived to offer access to social support (e.g., instant messaging with coworkers and friends) were related to lower work/life conflict. Social media (e.g., Facebook) had a direct relationship to higher work/life conflict, but an indirect relationship to lower work/life conflict through social support. Overall, findings suggest that individuals attempt to create work/life boundaries by selecting specific CTs when physical work/life boundaries are collapsed.