, Health Care Management Review, 2022 Oct 21
Cheryl Stults, Ph.D., Assistant Scientist
Background:The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unusually comprehensive crisis that has taken a toll on people in their roles both at work and at home, giving rise to a new normal.
Purpose:Relational coordination theory shows how communicating and relating for the purpose of task integration drives positive outcomes for workers, their clients, and their employers. The ecological theory of work-family spillover shows how relational dynamics from work spillover into family life, and vice versa. We build upon these two theories to understand how relationships at work impact work-life balance and worker well-being, especially in times of crisis.
Methodology:This study was based on surveys of clinicians affiliated with a large California health system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mediation and multilevel logistic regression models were used to assess how relational coordination among colleagues impacts well-being (job satisfaction and lack of burnout) through its effects on work-life balance (schedule control and personal time).
Results:A 1-point increase in relational coordination tripled clinician odds of having schedule control (OR = 3.33, p < .001) and nearly doubled the odds of having adequate personal time (OR = 1.83, p < .001). A 1-point increase in relational coordination nearly quadrupled odds of being satisfied with their job (OR = 3.92, p < .001) and decreased odds of burnout by 64% (OR = 0.36, p < .001). The impact of relational coordination on worker well-being was mediated by greater schedule control and personal time.
Conclusion:Relational coordination among colleagues impacts worker well-being by enabling greater control over one's schedule and more personal time, thus creating a positive spillover from work to home in times of crisis.
Practice implications:In times of crisis, leaders should prioritize relational coordination among colleagues in order to support their resilience both at work and at home.