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article imageFlexible working can make you ill: Study

By Tim Sandle     Jan 3, 2016 in Health
London - Family-friendly policies, work-life-balance, and flexible working are buzz phrases encouraged by governments and offered by more "enlightened" employers. But are they good for your health?
According to the U.K. government: "Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee's needs, e.g. having flexible start and finish times, or working from home." However, is this always the case? Are such working arrangements really to the benefit of the employee?
The reason why flexible working may do more harm than good is because policies like home-working encourage an "always on" culture, when the boundaries between work and non-work become blurred, contributing towards work-related stress.
The warning comes from Professor Gail Kinman, an occupational health psychologist from the University of Bedfordshire and the British Psychological Association, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. Professor Kinman has made a study of more novel forms of employment practice, such as teleworking, working from home, flexible hours, part-time contracts, and unpaid time off, and linked these to patterns of stress and stress hormones.
His research has shown those who can access things like work emails from home or regularly carry out work tasks in the home environment risk higher levels of stress. His research has found every time someone performs a work task, their stress levels increase.
Here Kilman states: “If you keep picking at work, worrying about it, your systems never really go down to baseline so you don’t recover properly. You might sleep, but you don’t sleep properly, the effectiveness of your immune system reduces."
In essence, the research, which is yet to be published, calls for a reinforcement of the barriers between work and home.
More about flexible working, worklife balance, Work
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