Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2012;38(4):314-326    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3306 | Published online: 30 May 2012, Issue date: 01 Jul 2012

Implementation of self-rostering (the PRIO-project): effects on working hours, recovery, and health

by Garde AH, Albertsen K, Nabe-Nielsen K, Carneiro IG, Skotte J, Hansen SM, Lund H, Hvid H, Hansen ÅM

Objectives The aim of this study was to (i) investigate the consequences of self-rostering for working hours, recovery, and health, and (ii) elucidate the mechanisms through which recovery and health are affected.

Methods Twenty eight workplaces were allocated to either an intervention or reference group. Intervention A encompassed the possibility to specify preferences for starting time and length of shift down to 15 minutes intervals. Interventions B and C included the opportunity to choose between a number of predefined duties. Questionnaires (N=840) on recovery and health and objective workplace reports of working hours (N=718) were obtained at baseline and 12 months later. The interaction term between intervention and time was tested in mixed models and multinomial logistic regression models.

Results The odds ratio (OR) of having short [OR 4.8, 95 % confidence interval (95% CI) 1.9–12.3] and long (OR 4.8, 95% CI 2.9–8.0) shifts increased in intervention A. Somatic symptoms (β= -0.10, 95% CI -0.19– -0.02) and mental distress (β= -0.13, 95% CI -0.23– -0.03) decreased, and sleep (β= 1.7, 95% CI 0.04–0.30) improved in intervention B, and need for recovery was reduced in interventions A (β= -0.17, 95% CI -0.29– -0.04) and B (β= -0.17, 95% CI -0.27– -0.07). There were no effects on recovery and health in intervention C, and overall, there were no detrimental effects on recovery or health. The benefits of the intervention were not related to changes in working hours and did not differ by gender, age, family type, degree of employment, or working hour arrangements.

Conclusions After implementation of self-rostering, employees changed shift length and timing but did not compromise most recommendations for acceptable shift work schedules. Positive consequences of self-rostering for recovery and health were observed, particularly in intervention B where worktime control increased but less extensively than intervention A. The effect could not be statistically explained by changes in actual working hours.