1602f Practical guidelines for linking better working time arrangements with stress prevention at work

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Abstract

Introduction

Multifaceted work redesign is always involved in improving working time arrangements. Recent experiences in improving work systems with excessive work hours or overworking situations clearly show the need to link better working schedules with comprehensive measures to reduce stress at work. It is useful to know practical ways to facilitate joint changes or work schedules and job content.

Methods

Typical types of improvements undertaken in participatory programmes for joint improvement of working time arrangements and job content for preventing stress at work were compared. The programmes studied included participatory occupational health activities of health care workers, local government employees and small enterprise workers. The common features of the participatory steps that facilitated the joint change process and the roles of trained facilitators were examined. The results were discussed to comile practical guidelines for linking better work schedules with other multifaceted stress-reducing improvements.

Results

Multiple aspects addressed by the reviewed programmes commonly included team-based communication, work schedules, ergonomic work methods, physical environment and social support. Work schedule changes were usually combined with enhanced communication or improved work methods. It was found useful to utilise action-oriented tools such as action checklists reflecting local good practices and group work methods for proposing feasible improvements. New guidelines for organising participatory steps for the joint change of work schedules and job content were compiled with emphasis on simple group work procedures and the use of action-oriented checklists for proposing multifaceted actions.

Conclusions

The participatory steps utilising action-oriented checklists and local good practices proved useful for facilitating planning and implementation of multifaceted improvements in work schedules and job content in the local context. It is suggested to organise participatory activities referring to the new guidelines compiling these positive features in linking working time arrangements and stress prevention at work.

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