Research

Workers' views on non-standard work schedules

Non-standard work schedules (NSWSs) are those which are outside of regular and predictable daytime hours. These may have negative effects on worker and family health.

Researchers from the U.S.A undertook a qualitative study to try to understand worker perspectives on the health and well-being impacts of NSWSs among full-time, transportation maintainers, correctional, and manufacturing workers. Forty-nine workers participated in eight focus groups and the researchers then examined the data.

The workers unsurprisingly reported that long work hours and irregular and unpredictable schedules posed the biggest obstacles to their well-being. They reported that NSWSs were associated with behavior impacts (poor family and social connections, poor eating, poor sleep, lack of exercise recovery), physical health impacts (exhaustion, weight gain) and extended work exposures (increased stress, increased accidents).

The researchers concluded the results highlight the importance of developing and implementing effective workplace interventions to address these barriers to health and health behaviors.
Read more: Suleiman, A et al. Worker perspectives on the impact of non-standard workdays on worker and family well-being: A qualitative study. [Full article]BMC Public Health, vol. 21, no. 1, 2022

The association between long working hours and infertility

Korean researchers sought to investigate whether working long hours was related to infertility among female Korean workers, taking age into consideration.

The researchers used data from the 2018 National Survey on Fertility and Family Health and Welfare in Korea - a cross-sectional, nationally representative, and population-based survey. Infertility was defined as women who were not pregnant after regular unprotected intercourse for a year. Working long hours was classified as 52 hours or more per week, and age, whether younger or older than 40 years old.

Without going into the specifics, the results showed that the prevalence of infertility increased as weekly working hours increased - but only for the younger than 40-year subgroup.

The researchers concluded that infertility is associated with working long hours, especially in young-aged workers, and therefore, working schedules must be structured to better suit young female workers.
Read more: Ahn, J, et al, The Association Between Long Working Hours and Infertility [Full article] Safety and Health at Work, vol. 12, no. 4, 2022

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