Staying engaged during the week: The effect of off-job activities on next day work engagement

Lieke L. Ten Brummelhuis, Arnold B. Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)


Although studies on employee recovery accumulate at a stunning pace, the commonly used theory (Effort-Recovery model) that explains how recovery occurs has not been explicitly tested. We aimed to unravel the recovery process by examining whether off-job activities enhance next morning vigor to the extent that they enable employees to relax and detach from work. In addition, we investigated whether adequate recovery also helps employees to work with more enthusiasm and vigor on the next workday. On five consecutive days, a total of 74 employees (356 data points) reported the hours they spent on various off-job activities, their feelings of psychological detachment, and feelings of relaxation before going to sleep. Feelings of vigor were reported on the next morning, and day-levels of work engagement were reported after work. As predicted, leisure activities (social, low-effort, and physical activities) increased next morning vigor through enhanced psychological detachment and relaxation. High-duty off-job activities (work and household tasks) reduced vigor because these activities diminished psychological detachment and relaxation. Moreover, off-job activities significantly affected next day work engagement. Our results support the assumption that recovery occurs when employees engage in off-job activities that allow for relaxation and psychological detachment. The findings also underscore the significance of recovery after work: Adequate recovery not only enhances vigor in the morning, but also helps employees to stay engaged during the next workday.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Leisure time activities
  • Psychological detachment
  • Recovery
  • Relaxation
  • Work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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