There are now over three million employees who are regular night-workers in the UK – an increase of 6.9% between 2007 and 2014.
In 2014, 14.9% of male employees were night workers, this is compared to 9.7% of female employees. However, the number of women working nights has grown at a faster rate: 12% since 2007 for women, as opposed to a 4% increase in regular night working for men.
There are negative health implications for those who work nights, such as heightened risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. Less attention has been given to the impacts on home life, relationships and work-life balance.
A new report from the TUC demonstrates that night working can increase the risk of relationship problems, can affect the emotional well being of a night worker’s children, and is associated with higher childcare costs. However, these negative impacts can be mitigated when employees have more influence and control over their shift patterns.
Employers must properly consider and address all the implications for staff of night working and how best to mitigate negative outcomes. Decisions to extend night working need to involve consultation and negotiation with workers’ representatives to ensure fair and safe outcomes.
This article reports on a new meta-analysis of research covering 50,000 workers which found that those who checked work email or took work calls after the office was shut were more likely to have problems with their health and private lives.
It goes on to note that while new technology was supposed to provide flexibility for workers, it actually encouraged them to be always ‘switched on’, blurring boundaries between work and life and causing work-family conflict.
The research authors note that:
“Researchers, employers and employees need to work jointly on how to make the use of technologies as beneficial as possible, reducing the negative effects. Otherwise, there is a danger of unintended knock-on effects.”
Read more at The Telegraph.
While flexible working is heralded as a means by which people can be productive anywhere, while maintaining friendships and a happy family life this article suggests that its effects can be less positive.
The article suggests that flexible working can lead to “diluted joy, diminished health, and lack of satisfaction we experience in our lives when we choose not to fully escape the world of work”. It goes on to note methods by which workers can maintain boundaries between work and life, to the benefit of both.
Read more on Fast Company.
A new report from UK disability charity, Scope, notes that 48% of disabled people interviewed felt that flexible working would have helped them stay in work.
Flexible working is viewed of as beneficial to disabled people allows them to work around fluctuating conditions, recovery and other changes related to disability. However, only 1 in 3 reported being offered the flexibility they needed – pushing many disabled people and their carers into long-term unemployment.
Read more on Scope’s blog.
Using OECD data, this Economist blog shows a relationship between working hours and “potential years of life lost” (PYLL). The suggestion made is that there is a statistically significant relationship between working longer hours and higher premature mortality.
They posit that stress may be a factor, as it can contribute to range of problems like heart disease and depression, but go on to note that the ‘pattern is not completely clear’.
Read more on The Economist.