2019 Volume 57 Issue 2 Pages 184-200
Working time arrangements that require shift work or other non-standard working hours have significant potential to encroach on time that is highly valued for family, social and leisure activity. This can often result in workers experiencing poorer work-family or work-life balance. Based on an extensive literature search and expert knowledge, primary risk factors were identified including shift work; long, irregular and unpredictable working hours; and work on evenings and weekends (in combination and independent of shift work). On the other hand, flexibility, in the form of adequate worker control over work schedules, may be a protective factor. In addition, workers experiencing excessive work-life conflict are likely to reduce their working hours, reflecting a reciprocal relationship between working hours and work-life balance. Workers’ families are also affected by shift work and non-standard working hours. Parents’ shift work is associated with poorer emotional and developmental outcomes for their children, and to a greater likelihood of risky behavior in adolescence. Additionally, the risk of separation or divorce is increased, especially for parents working night shifts. Due to relationships such as those above, the consequences of shiftwork and non-standard working hours on family and social life are largely dependent on a complex interaction between specific work schedules, other aspects of work organization, and family and individual worker characteristics. This article provides an overview of current evidence regarding the relationships between working time arrangements and various social and family variables, and concludes with shift scheduling and intervention recommendations to improve work-life balance and social well-being.