More flexibility in work schedules boosts employees' health

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Washington, Feb 18 (ANI): A new study has suggested that giving employees more flexibility over their work schedules is likely to boost their health.

However, interventions that are motivated or dictated by the needs of the employer, such as cutting hours, either have no effect on employee health or make it worse, says the research.

"Control at work is good for health," said review co-author Clare Bambra, a researcher at Durham University, in England.

"Given the absence of ill health effects associated with employee-controlled flexibility and the evidence of some positive improvements in some health outcomes," Bambra said, more flexibility in work schedules "has the potential to promote healthier workplaces and improve work practices."

Review lead author Kerry Joyce, also a researcher at Durham University, said that in addition to physical risks, the workplace can pose a threat to health due to factors like high workloads, time pressures, lack of control and limited social interaction with others.

Stress, in turn, can contribute to conditions like heart disease, depression and anxiety.

In the review, the authors sought to determine what researchers have discovered about the effects on health of "flexible working" - measures that give employees more autonomy.

They also looked at other kinds of interventions, such as involuntary part-time employment and mandatory overtime, that help employers.

The researchers found 10 studies that fit their criteria for review inclusion. Three took place in the United States, two in Finland and one each in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark. Another study analyzed workers in the U.K. and Germany.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library. (ANI)

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