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Shift your work

Towards sustainable employability by implementing new shift systems
PhD ceremony:Mr H.A. (Hardy) van de Ven
When:October 23, 2017
Start:16:15
Supervisors:J.J.L. van der Klink, M.P. de Looze, prof. dr. U. (Ute) Bultmann, prof. dr. S. (Sandra) Brouwer
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Shift your work

In this thesis, the premises that shift work becomes more demanding with older age and that sustainable employability of older shift workers can be supported by implementing new shift systems are examined. In the first three studies, almost differences were found between older and younger shift workers concerning productivity, health and work-family conflict. Other factors, e.g. chronotype (the degree of morning/eveningness), better explained individual differences in sleep and need for recovery than age. In the three next studies was found that shift schedules adhering to ergonomic recommendations support sustainable employability. Yet, the process before implementation is, at least, equally important how shift workers evaluate a new shift schedule. Possible explanations for these results are that only those best suited and adapted to shift work will stay in shift work, and that collective shift schedules offer few opportunities to accommodate individual differences. Considering the age distribution of the study sample, many shift workers are at the verge of working past the initial retirement age. The retirement age has recently been increased, while at the same time “sparing-policies” for older shift workers have been abandoned. Little is known about the problems and needs of shift workers in these additional working years, warranting further research to enhance sustainable employability of shift workers. A possible strategy is to design and evaluate new shift systems intervening on personal characteristics, e.g. chronotype.