Flexi-work best for employee health

By Angela Dorizas

Research in the UK has shown that flexible work arrangements have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of employees.

The Cochrane Collaboration research team conducted ten studies on a total of 16,603 workers to test different forms of flexible work arrangements.

Self-scheduling of working hours was found to have a number of positive impacts on blood pressure, sleep and mental health.

One of the ten studies found significant psychological wellbeing among police officers who were able to change the start times of their shifts instead of working at a fixed hour.

Lead researcher of the review, Dr Clare Bambra of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University, said the findings were worth consideration by employers.

“Flexible working seems to be more beneficial for health and wellbeing where the individuals control their own work patterns, rather than where employers are in control,” Dr Bambra said.

“Being in control of how and when we work is good for us and has clear health benefits.

“Employees who are able to adapt their work schedules to fit in with their wider lives feel better.”

The Cochrane Collaboration team said further research was required to understand how the health effects of flexible working arrangements are experienced by different types of workers depending on their gender, age and type of employment.

Read the full report: Flexible working conditions and their effects on employee health and wellbeing [PDF]

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