Flexible work hours, health and well-being

Starting date
November 1, 2000
Duration (months)
Managers or local contacts
Costa Giovanni
flexible working hours, shift work, workers' health

Aims of the project

In view of the lack of knowledge of the impact of flexible work hours on health and well-being, the project, started in November 2000, had the following aims:

1. To review the literature concerning “flexible working hours” dealing with health and well-being, and with particular consideration to aging.
2. To summarise and compare legislation on Working Hours in the EU countries, especially with regard to temporal flexibility.
3. To analyse the data of the last European Survey on Working Conditions (EURF 2000) concerning the distribution of the different kinds of work hours organisation in Europe and to evaluate possible relations of flexible working hours with health outcomes - as far as possible from the data available.
4. To collect practical examples of innovative flexible work hours in some EU countries and evaluate them according to ergonomic criteria.
5. To report some national case studies and surveys concerning interactions between arrangements of more flexible working hours and effects on health and well-being of the workers, in particular:
a) Flexible working hours and well-being in Finland (from a representative survey on Finnish wage and salary earners).
b) The relationship of work demands and weekly working hours with sleep among Finnish IT-professionals.
c) Work hour flexibility and the ability to sustain working life to retirement in Sweden.
d) The use of irregular working schedules in France and some of its social and economic factors.
e) The impact of age and the flexibility of work hours on outcome measure (from a survey on licensed aircraft maintenance engineers in England).
f) The French 35-hour workweek and its effects on the quality of life.
6. To create a website, linked with SIN (Shift work International Newsletter, Working Time Society) and SALTSA websites, containing all the information collected in our project, in particular the literature review and the references.
7. To create a scientific network on flexible work hours and to suggest a proposal for detailed studies on flexible work hours to be presented as a project to the 6th EU Framework Programme for key actions on socio-economic research.


Swedish Institute for Working Life
Funds: requested

Project participants

Federica Baltieri
Giovanni Costa
Samantha Sartori

Collaboratori esterni

Isabela Simoes
Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa
Mikko Harma
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki
Johannes Gartner
Technical University, Wien
Monique Frings-Dresen
Coronel Institute, Amsterdam
Hiltraud Grzech-Sukalo
AWIS-Hude, Germany
Charles Gadbois
Universitè EPHE, Paris
Friedhelm Nachreiner
University of Oldemburg (germany)
Torbjorn Akerstedt
Karolinska Institut, Stockholm
Simon Folkard
University of Swansea (UK)


Research facilities