Navigation and service

BAuA Working Time Survey: Working time preferences of employees in Germany

(in German)

The actual working hours of employees in Germany often do not match with their working time preferences. Even over longer periods of time not all employees can put their preferences into practice. Notwithstanding, working hours that are tailored to individual needs may ease the compatibility between work and private life, prevent overload situations, improve the present and future financial situation and counteract labor shortages. While preferences for reductions and extensions have been in the focus of discussions concerning working-time policy for a long time, the ongoing change in the world of work has raised further questions: So far little is known about employees’ preferences in terms of flexible working hours and the dissolution of boundaries between work and private life.

On the basis of current and representative data, the present report gives a comprehensive overview of the working time preferences and realities of employees in Germany. For this purpose, data of dependent employees from the first two waves of the BAuA working time survey (cross-sectional data 2017: ca. 8 700 people, longitudinal data 2015 / 2017: ca. 5 600 people) from a representative panel survey among employees in Germany were analyzed. Working time preferences and realities regarding weekly working hours, working time autonomy, and the separation of work and private life were contrasted and examined in terms of workplace and occupational characteristics as well as from a life-phase perspective. Another focus is the realization of working time preferences in terms of the length of working hours, promoting boundary conditions as well as potential obstacles. Finally, relationships between working time discrepancies and health as well as satisfaction of employees are examined.

Analyses point towards variations in working time preferences in different life phases. Especially in terms of weekly working hours preferences and reality often diverge. Most employees would like to reduce their working hours while preferences for longer hours are more likely to be put into practice. Likewise, with regard to working time autonomy preferences often dissent from reality. On the other hand, the majority of employees prefers a separation of work and private life and also has the opportunities to do so. Discrepancies in terms of working time are often associated with impairments of health, work-life balance and job satisfaction, especially if actual opportunities fall behind employees' preferences.

Please download the complete report "BAuA Working Time Survey: Working time preferences of employees in Germany" (in German only).

Bibliographic information

C. Brauner, A. M. Wöhrmann, A. Michel:
BAuA-Arbeitszeitbefragung: Arbeitszeitwünsche von Beschäftigten in Deutschland. 
Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2018. 
ISBN: 978-3-88261-250-9, pages 70, Project number: F 2398, paper, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:bericht20181005

Research Project

Project numberF 2398 StatusCompleted Project Working time reporting for Germany: Analysis, scientific preparation/utilization and continuation

Find out more : Working time reporting for Germany: Analysis, scientific preparation/utilization and continuation …


To be able to optimise our website for you and to improve it on an ongoing basis - according to your prior agreement - we wish to use cookies for the web analysis. You can withdraw this decision at any time in our Privacy Policy.