In this article, the authors (Sebastian Seibel, Judith Volmer, and Antje Schmitt) investigated across two studies if the pleasant anticipation of a positive after-work free-time activity affects employees’ engagement while being still at work. It was found that daily pleasant anticipation of a positive after-work free-time activity was unrelated to daily work engagement, thus, higher pleasant anticipation on one day did not help employees be more engaged in their work on that day. However, employees with a generally higher level of pleasant anticipation of an after-work free-time activity experienced generally higher work engagement than those with lower pleasant anticipation.
The article can be found here.
Previous research has shown that after-work free-time activities can enhance employees’ work engagement and positively affect their general well-being and health. This study investigates whether the anticipation of an after-work free-time activity boosts employees’ work engagement. Building on the conservation of resources (COR) theory, we assumed that employees’ pleasant anticipation of an after-work free-time activity positively relates to work engagement within and between persons. Furthermore, we examined the moderating role of recovery-related self-efficacy (RRSE). In Study 1, 85 employees completed three questionnaires (morning, noon, and afternoon) on one workday, and we expanded the design to a one-week diary in Study 2 (N = 56). Findings from (hierarchical) linear modeling supported the positive relationship between pleasant anticipation and work engagement between but not within persons. Moreover, RRSE was not found to be a moderator. Overall, our study demonstrated that employees vary in their pleasant anticipation, partly explaining differences in work engagement.