Expert meetings on organisation of working time: Implications for productivity and working conditions

tors, 02/06/2011
fre, 03/06/2011

2 - 3 June 2011, Eurofound, Dublin

Eurofound is, within its Programme of work 2011, currently conducting research on how the organisation of working time can have an impact on organisational productivity and how working conditions (in particular health and work life balance) can be assured or improved.

The links between different forms of working time flexibility and organisational productivity are manifold. Companies need flexibility to adjust working time of employees to the variations of the market demand. Likewise, workers can achieve a better reconciliation of private and working life, which could lead to higher performance. The central hypothesis to be tested is that working time flexibility can increase labour productivity at company level. This year, Eurofound will review relevant literature on the topic, look into case studies in the automotive and the retail sectors and conduct statistical analyses using the European Company Survey and the European Working Conditions Survey.

In order to feed into the current research and to identify angles and methods for future research, two expert meetings were held in Dublin:

During the meetings, participants highlighted the relevance of the topic in the current scientific and policy debate. Moreover, the presentations showed that the analysis of the issue at European level is very complex, since contextual aspects like the economic sector and culture of the country or companies, among others, can make a difference in the equation between working time flexibility, productivity and working conditions.

The meeting also revealed that through the analysis of surveys a general picture can be obtained about what variables might play an important role. However, it is essential to do research through case studies in order to capture the reality and to take into account key elements, such organisation of work and social process, which in the end can play an important role in the outcomes of the implementation of working time flexibility.

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