The design of working time is one of the most central questions of occupational safety and health. In the past, research focused on factors such as shift work and long working hours. However, the working world is changing and so are the demands on working time design. Today, employees are confronted with mobile work, extended availability through smart phones and computers and many different working time models, e.g. on-call work, home office or part-time work. This new flexibility raises questions which will have to be discussed on a differentiated level without losing sight of employee health.
The working time report, conducted by BAuA in 2015, asked about 20,000 working persons in Germany about their working time conditions and therefore provides an up-to-date and broad overview on various forms of working hours, including working time duration and location, actual working hours, overtime, shift work and weekend work. Additionally, the report paid attention to self-employed persons (8%) and those who are working in multiple jobs (7%). Results showed that dependent full-time workers work almost five hours more on average than agreed by contract, with employees working in craft and industry having the longest working hours. Overtime, weekend work and a lack of working time predictability are related to less satisfaction with work-life-balance and worse health status. Serving as a solid data basis, the working time report provides a guide to evaluate and design healthy working time systems. It promotes further analyses such as working time design and its potential as a resource when it comes to detachment from work and work load compensation.