Engagement during demanding workdays: A diary study on energy gained from off-job activities

Kimberley Breevaart*, Arnold Bakker, Daantje Derks, C.V. van Vuuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Research on the effects of specific off-job activities, such as social and physical activities, on employees’ work life seems to be inconclusive. Therefore, we investigated how energy gained from off-job activities the previous day after work hours, rather than the involvement in or the time spent on specific activities, helps employees to be engaged in their work during demanding workdays (i.e., high workload). We hypothesized that workload becomes a challenge demand and, consequently, increases employees’ engagement in their work on the days employees had high (vs. low) energetic resources from their previous day’s off-job activities. Our participants were 37 employees working at an elementary school, who completed an online daily diary at the end of the workday for a period of two weeks (N = 37 employees × 7.16 days on average = 265 measurement points). The results of the moderation analysis supported our hypothesis, showing that employees were more engaged in their work on the days they experienced a high workload and when they gained high levels of energy from the activities they undertook the previous day during nonwork-hours. Our findings contribute to our knowledge on how off-job activities influence employees’ work life, showing that it is not just the activity but the energy gained from these activities that is important to deal with daily workload.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
Issue number1
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • High workload
  • Job engagement
  • SELF
  • TIME
  • diary study
  • energetic resources
  • energy
  • off-job activities
  • work engagement
  • workload


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