Work that kills

July 26, 2019

More than 64% of employed Russians work evenings, nights or weekends, and this is one of the highest figures among European countries. Andrei Shevchuk and Anna Krasilnikova from HSE University were the first to study the extent of nonstandard working hours in Russia and its impact on work-life balance.

Departure from Traditions

A five-day week of eight-hour workdays, with two days off, is the generally accepted standard of employment. But deviations from this schedule are not uncommon, and emergency services are not the only ones operating 24/7.

The negative effects of unconventional working schedules are well known and include disruption of biological and social rhythms and damage to health and subjective wellbeing.

Interference with circadian rhythms has been found to cause depression, headaches and burnout as well as limiting one's quality time with loved ones and eroding family relations and social life. Chronic fatigue and sleepiness can lead to workplace accidents and injuries.

These are the findings of international researchers. Similar studies in Russia have been limited to specific groups such as freelancers and employees of certain services and call centres, but no general conclusions or quantitative assessments have been published so far.

Night Shift Majority

The first attempt to assess the scale of the problem was based on data from the European Social Survey Round 5 (?SS, 2011), which included questions about working evenings, nights and weekends.

The findings were startling. According to the study authors,Overall, slightly more than 64% of Russian employees are engaged in nonstandard work schedules on a consistent basis. These are primarily men, top and middle managers, highly-skilled industrial personnel, as well as those employed in agriculture, retail and service sectors.

Ahead of Other Countries

Conducted in 27 countries, the ESS found that countries with the highest rates of nonstandard working hours included Croatia (71%), Greece (70%) and Poland (65%), while those where nonstandard schedules were less common included Denmark, France and Portugal (51% each), Bulgaria (50%), the Netherlands (49%), and Israel (44%).

Russia ranked in the top four countries in terms of all types of nonstandard working schedules combined and also showed a high rate (36%) of dual nighttime and weekend work (30% average across countries).

But according to the researchers, the actual prevalence of nonstandard working hours may be even greater, since an estimated one-third of working Russians have additional employment, whereas ESS questions focused on respondents' main place of work only.

Disrupted Balance

In terms of subjective wellbeing and self-esteem, one's perception of work-life balance (family/ partnership, household work, cultural development, hobbies, sports, recreation and entertainment) is particularly affected by nonstandard working hours.

The researchers applied regression analysis using a specially constructed index - the average value of three variables (based on responses to three ESS questions) - to measure the deviation from the equilibrium:According to the study authors, 'Someone can feel a deterioration of their work-life balance just by working evenings/nights a few times a month or weekends once a month'.

The negative impact of night shifts grows with increasing frequency: the more often one is required to work nights, the lower the chances of a balanced life. In contrast, the frequency of weekend work does not seem to make a difference: no matter whether one has to work weekends once a month or once a week, the negative effect is the same.
-end-


National Research University Higher School of Economics

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.