Aimee O'Leary
Written by
Aimee O'Leary

There has been lots of talk about the ‘new normal’ and how Covid-19 will impact work schedules going forward. As offices begin to re-open leaders need to be thinking about their current flexibility offering and figure out what will and won’t work in a post Covid-19 world where employee expectations have changed. Work scheduling impacts employee wellbeing, productivity, talent retention and more, so it’s imperative leaders get it right. But where do you start?

Mark C. Bolino , Thomas K. Kelemen and Samuel H. Matthews conducted a review of 153 academic articles examining how nonstandard work schedules affect employee attitudes, behavior, physical and psychological health, as well as their personal and family life. They have outlined 4 questions to ask as leaders begin to rethink their work schedules.

From the Article: 

(1) How does my organization’s scheduling practices affect employee effectiveness and well-being?  We reviewed studies investigating an array of nonstandard work schedules, including rotating shifts, night work, flextime, and more, and found that they affect absenteeism, turnover, and job performance in different ways. Working the night shift is associated with higher absenteeism and lower productivity, while flextime schedules are generally associated with reduced absenteeism and turnover. In fact, earlier this year, Gallup reported that 51% of U.S. employees said that they would switch to a job that offers flextime. Working mothers were especially likely to seek out and benefit from such arrangements.

Scheduling practices not only affect employees’ effectiveness. They also have a significant impact on their attitudes and well-being. We found that flextime and compressed work schedules (schedules where employees work more hours per day, but fewer days per week) give employees more control over when they work and provide larger blocks of free time, increasing overall job satisfaction. In contrast, rotational and night shifts can be less predictable and more disruptive to employees’ personal lives, ultimately undermining overall job satisfaction.

In terms of well-being, shift, night, and evening schedules often influence behaviors important to a worker’s physical and mental health, such as eating and sleeping properly. Over time, irregular habits can lead to serious health consequences. Case in point: in a 2016 study that tracked around 189,000 women over a period of 24 years, those who worked a rotating night shift schedule for more than 10 years had a 15%-18% greater risk of developing coronary heart disease. Irregular schedules can also affect employees’ ability to maintain positive relationships with their partners and children. This disruption can be a source of work schedule dissatisfaction, which is critical since schedule satisfaction has been shown to positively correlate with work engagement.

Get the full article online: Rethinking Work Schedules? Consider These 4 Questions

Make sure to explore Inspiring Workplace’s other content and insights about leadership and Covid-19.


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