Report links flexible work to health benefits

February 25, 2010

Flexible working arrangements that increase worker control and choice may improve worker health and well-being, according to an evidence review from Durham University and University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom and Canada's University of Montreal.

Researchers examined 10 before-and-after studies on the following flexible working arrangements:

  • Self-scheduling
  • Flextime
  • Overtime
  • Gradual retirement
  • Involuntary retirement
  • Fixed-term contract
According to the study abstract, self-scheduling and employee-controlled partial/early retirement were found to improve health (including blood pressure, heart rate, sleep quality and alertness) and/or well-being (such as co-workers' social support and sense of community), while overtime, flextime and fixed-term contracts had no significant effects on physical or mental health and well-being.

Researchers cautioned the review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, was limited by the small sample.