By the HR Observer Staff

Flexible working time arrangements can benefit businesses, economies, and employees leading to an increase in productivity and better employee’s health, according to a report released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The report, Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World , looks at working time; working hours and work schedules which has an effect on both business performance and workers well being.

According to the study, longer hours of work are associated with lower unit labour productivity, while shorter hours of work are linked with higher productivity. The organization said that public policy responses are needed to reduce the working hours within many countries, to promote both a healthy work-life balance and improved productivity.

“There is a substantial amount of evidence that work–life balance policies provide significant benefits to enterprises, supporting the argument that such policies are a ‘win-win’ for both employers and employees,” the report states.

The study concludes  that a large number of the global workforce are working either long or short hours when compared to a standard eight-hour day/40 hour working week.

The ILO study states that more than one-third of all workers are regularly working more than 48 hours per week. Meanwhile a fifth of the global workforce is part-time hours of less than 35 per week. The study said that that the informal economy workers are more likely to have long or short hours.

“The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon has placed work-life balance at the forefront of social and labour market issues in the post-pandemic world,” said Jon Messenger, the lead author of the report, in a statement.

This report analyzes various working-time arrangements and their effects on work-life balance, which includes: shift work, on-call work, compressed hours and hours-averaging schemes.

“This report shows that if we apply some of the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis and look very carefully at the way working hours are structured, as well as their overall length, we can create a win-win, improving both business performance and work-life balance,” added Messenger. 

The organisation added in the study that while teleworking helps maintain employment and creates new scope for employee autonomy, flexible working arrangements need regulating.