Navigation and service

Working Time Control and Variability in Europe Revisited: Correlations with Health, Sleep, and Well-Being

Working time control (WTC) and working time variability (WTV) are two important dimensions of working times, especially with regard to the dynamics of irregular working hours in a changing world of work. Both dimensions are closely related, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously. However, a high degree of WTC does not automatically lead to variable or irregular working hours. On the contrary, WTV is often imposed by the employer and does not necessarily occur in conjunction with high WTC. This article gives an overview of different European WTC and WTV regimes using a typological approach. Based on the European Working Conditions Survey 2015 (EWCS, n = 27,607), four employee groups are compared: those with (1) high WTC and high WTV, (2) high WTC and low WTV, (3) low WTC and high WTV, and (4) low WTC and low WTV. Firstly, the analyses aim to assess whether WTC and WTV vary across European countries due to different working time regimes and in different occupational sectors, i.e., hospitality, retail, and health and social work. Secondly, multi-level analyses are used to describe correlations with health (self-rated health, psychosomatic complaints), sleep (sleep problems), and well-being (WHO-5-Scale). The analyses suggest that WTC and WTV differ between European countries: in the northern countries, high WTC/high WTV is most prevalent, whereas low WTV/low WTC is more common in the other countries. As far as employee health and sleep are concerned, high WTV is associated with poor health, i.e., a greater number of psychosomatic health complaints, worse self-rated health status, and more sleep problems. However, the correlation appears to be weaker for psychosomatic health complaints when employees have high WTC. Significant correlations could not be found for WTC. Low WTC and high WTV is more common in occupational sectors in hospitality, retail, and health and social care; however, these occupational sectors show the same correlations regarding health, sleep, and well-being. The analyses indicate that it is crucial to consider WTV and WTC together in order to understand the dynamics of irregular working hours and health.

The complete article is published in the "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health" (2022).

Bibliographic information

N. Backhaus:
Working Time Control and Variability in Europe Revisited: Correlations with Health, Sleep, and Well-Being. 
in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 19, Issue 22 2022. pages 1-19, Project number: F 2507, PDF file, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph192214778

download file "Working Time Control and Variability in Europe Revisited: Correlations with Health, Sleep, and Well-Being" (PDF, 737 KB, Not barrier-free file)

Research Project

Project numberF 2507 StatusOngoing Project Working time reporting for Germany: scientific analyses on current topics

Find out more : Working time reporting for Germany: scientific analyses on current topics …

Cookies help us to provide our services. By using our website you agree that we can use cookies. Read more about our Privacy Policy and visit the following link: Privacy Policy

OK