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Workhours and worklife balance

Author(s): Karen Albertsen | Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir | Asbjörn Grimsmo | Kristinn Tómasson | Kaisa Kauppinen

Journal: SJWEH Supplements
ISSN 1795-9926

Issue: 5;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: well-being | literature review | child’s well-being | long hours | marital quality | overtime work | shift work | working life balance | worktime arrangements | child | workhours | children | worklife balance | influence

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present review was to summarize the scientific literature about the consequences of long and nonstandard workhours and employee influence over workhours on different measures of worklife balance. METHODS: Literature with a focus on the social consequences of the organization of workhours on worklife balance was searched in large databases such as PSYC-info and PubMed; the result was supplemented with other relevant literature. RESULTS: An association between larger numbers of workhours and lower levels of worklife balance was strongly supported among women. For men, the results were less conclusive, while, for gender-mixed groups, an association between overtime work and lower levels of worklife balance was strongly supported. There was strong evidence that nonstandard workhours had a negative influence on worklife balance and some evidence that it had a negative influence on children’s well-being and on marital satisfaction. Employee influence over work schedule was associated with a better worklife balance in several studies. However, clear conclusions were difficult to draw due to methodological problems in the studies. Interventions that included reduced hours with wage compensation, rapidly rotating shifts, and increased influence on work schedules all showed positive effects on social life indicators. CONCLUSIONS: The social consequences of worktime arrangements are relatively well documented in the scientific literature. There is a need for intervention studies, longitudinal studies, and studies focusing on the influence on schedule, consequences regarding children’s development and well-being, and marital satisfaction.

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