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How do employees prioritise when they schedule their own shifts?

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We investigated how employees prioritised when they scheduled their own shifts and whether priorities depended on age, gender, educational level, cohabitation and health status. We used cross-sectional questionnaire data from the follow-up survey of an intervention study investigating the effect of self-scheduling (n = 317). Intervention group participants were asked about their priorities when scheduling their own shifts succeeded by 17 items covering family/private life, economy, job content, health and sleep. At least half of the participants reported that they were giving high priority to their family life, having consecutive time off, leisure-time activities, rest between shifts, sleep, regularity of their everyday life, health and that the work schedule balanced. Thus, employees consider both their own and the workplace's needs when they have the opportunity to schedule their own shifts. Age, gender, cohabitation and health status were all significantly associated with at least one of these priorities.

Practitioner Summary: Intervention studies report limited health effects of self-scheduling. Therefore, we investigated to what extent employees prioritise their health and recuperation when scheduling their own shifts. We found that employees not only consider both their health and family but also the workplace's needs when they schedule their own shifts.
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Keywords: intervention study; preferences; self-rostering; shift work; work–time control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1014 Copenhagen K, Denmark 2: Centre for Working Environment and Working Life, ENSPAC, Roskilde University Centre, Universitetsvej 1, Postboks 260, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark 3: The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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