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Working Time Consultancy

Developing and testing of a practical model

Innovative working time models are an asset: both for employers and for employees. However, many companies still do not completely exploit this potential. A practical model for working time consultancy can give new impulses.

Many employees will have to work until the age of 67 in the future. Given the decreasing labour force, companies have to develop offers in order to attract and retain skilled employees. Moreover, enhanced compatibility of professional and extra-professional requirements may increase the female labour force participation rate.

Innovative working time models may contribute significantly to these challenges. What do such models look like? And how can companies exploit their potentials better in the future?

Identifying shortcomings and exploiting potentials

The feasibility study "Arbeitszeitberatung - Entwicklung eines Praxismodells am Beispiel ausgesuchter Branchen" (Working time consultancy - development of a practical model taking selected industries as examples), developed in spring of 2009, was intended to answer these questions and to develop a practical model for working time consultancy against the backdrop of existing consultancy structures.

The study was promoted within the framework of the model programme for fighting work-related diseases by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and supported professionally by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).

The study concluded that there actually is a broad range of consultancy and information materials regarding the different ways of organising working time (for example night work and shift work, flexible working time, trust-based working time, telework, part-time work, on-call duty, working time models for older workers, etc.), but these materials are thus far not being used in many companies.

Particularly in small- and medium-scale companies, a paucitiy of information regarding state-of-the-art, innovative, and healthy working time models can be observed. Moreover, there is a lack of reliable and concerted criteria for quality-assured working time consultancy.

Overall, there is a need for a comprehensive, practically oriented, and quality-assured consultancy model on the subject of working time using and consolidating existing access to the companies, available consultancy approaches and organisational structures, as well as existing information material.

Working time consultancy in practice - two model projects

Against this background, two projects were promoted within the framework of the BMAS model programme; with the objective of developing, testing, and sustainably integrating company-specific working time consultancy into the consultancy landscape.

The following projects were sponsored:

  • ArbeitsZeitGewinn in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen
    RKW Hessen, the FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management and the RKW Competence Centre
  • Neue ArbeitsZeitPraxis - Zukunftsorientierte Arbeitszeitberatung für kleine und mittlere Betriebe in den Modellregionen Saarland und den Kammerbezirken Trier und Pfalz
    Institut für Sozialforschung und Sozialwirtschaft e.V. (iso) und Institut für Mittelstandsökonomie an der Universität Trier e.V. (Inmit)

In so doing, exemplary quality standards for working time consultancy were developed, tools for short-term analysis in companies and for assessing the current working times in companies and the need for consultancy were created, consultancy offers for developing innovative working time arrangements in the company were compiled, and practical guidance was created.

Based on such examples of good practice from small- and medium-scale companies, tried and tested solution approaches regarding the organisation of working time shall be illustrated in a comprehensible manner with the aim to encourage "imitation".

To the Topic

Checklist working time

Safely assessing and organising the duration, position, and distribution of the working time

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Working Time Box

Simple practical help regarding the organisation of working time

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