FLEXITIME improves the health of workers according to a study led by Durham University.

The research found that self-scheduling of working hours improves blood pressure, sleep and mental health.

The findings involved ten studies surveying 16,603 people and focused on different forms of flexible working.

Loading article content

In one study, police officers who were able to choose when they started work showed significant improvements in their overall psychological wellbeing, compared to colleagues who started work at fixed times.

In Scandinavian countries, flexible working arrangements for employees with families are commonplace.

In the UK, thanks to recent legislation, businesses must seriously consider requests to work flexitime from parents with children under 16.

Dr Clare Bambra, of the Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, said: “Flexible working seems to be more beneficial for health and wellbeing where the individuals control their own work patterns, rather than where employers are in control.”

Co-author Kerry Joyce said: “We need to know more about how the health effects of flexible working are experienced by different types of workers, for instance, comparing women to men, old to young and skilled to unskilled.

“This is important as some forms of flexible working might only be available to employees with higher status occupations and this may serve to increase existing differences in health between social groups."