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Driving it Home: How Workplace Emotional Labor Harms Employee Home Life


  • We thank Fred Nelson for providing access to participants and for facilitating data collection. We also thank Maria Kraimer and two anonymous reviewers for their productive feedback throughout the review process.


To date, the majority of research on emotional labor has focused on outcomes that occur in the workplace. However, research has yet to consider the possibility that the daily effects of emotional labor spill over to life outside of work, even though a large body of literature examining the spillover from work life to home life indicates that work experiences influence employees after they leave the workplace. Accordingly, we examined the influence of day-to-day surface acting on 3 types of theoretically derived stress outcomes experienced at home: emotional exhaustion, work-to-family conflict, and insomnia. In an experience sampling field study of 78 bus drivers, we found that daily surface acting was connected to increases in each of the outcomes noted above. Moreover, surface acting had an indirect effect on emotional exhaustion and insomnia via state anxiety.

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