Table 1 Details of the interventions included in the four systematic reviews
Employee participation review15
Employee participation committeesEmployee representative committees (described variously, eg action teams, problem solving committees, etc). These often focus on identifying and suggesting ways of overcoming workplace stressors. Some committees are led by external facilitators and/or have managerial representation.
Flexible working hoursEmployees are given more control over choosing their working hours.
Participation and individual-level interventionsEmployee committees combined with individual-level health promotion, education and behaviour programmes: such as anti-smoking or physical activity interventions and training in relaxation techniques, stress reduction and communication skills.
Participation and ergonomic interventionsParticipatory committees combined with ergonomic interventions, ie attempts to reduce physical discomfort and workplace injuries by modifying physical environments (including technological improvements) and advising on posture and lifting.
Task restructuring review16
Production lineProduction line interventions that increase the variety of tasks performed by a worker, increase the skills utilised and place more responsibility on individual workers.
Primary nursingIncreasing the skills utilised by workers by increasing the variety of work tasks. Primary nursing and personal caregiving are patient-orientated care systems in which each patient is assigned to an individual nurse/carer; the nurse/carer takes 24-hour responsibility for the care of that patient including the planning and quality of the care provided.
Team workingWorkers are given more collective responsibility and decision-making power within the team, but responsibility is not shared and supervisory structures remain in place.
Lean productionEmployee workloads are maximised, wasted time is reduced, tasks are distributed within the team, and work standards are determined by the employees themselves rather than solely by management.
“Just in time”“Just in time” requires that products are made “just in time” to be sold—no stockpiling of products. Work groups, not individuals, are given autonomy and responsibility for specific tasks in order to achieve the required production flow.
Autonomous work groupsAutonomous work groups are characterised by employee self-determination and involvement in the management of day-to-day work (including control over pace, task distribution and training and recruitment).
Compressed working week review17
Compressed working week (CWW)Hours worked per day are increased while the days worked are decreased in order to work the standard number of weekly hours in less than 5 days, eg the 12-hour CWW involves four 12-hour shifts (day, night) over 4 days with 3 or 4 days off. Under a 10-hour CWW, four 10-hour shifts are worked followed by 3 days off. The Ottawa system consists of three or four 10-hour morning or afternoon shifts for 4 days and 2 days off followed by a block of seven 8-hour nights and 6 days off.
Shift work review18
Changes affecting shift rotationeg 1. Changing from slow to fast rotation: a change from six or seven consecutive shifts of the same type to a maximum of three or four.
eg 2. Changing from backward (night, afternoon, morning) to forward (morning, afternoon, night) rotation or vice versa.
eg 3. Changing from a rotating shift system to a permanent shift system.
Changes affecting night workeg 1. Removal of night shifts.
eg 2. Increasing the rest period before the rotation onto night shift.
eg 3. Reduction in the number of consecutive night shifts.
Later start and finish timesStarting and finishing shifts 1 hour (in the studies we identified) later.
Weekend shift changesContinuous (weekends on) to discontinuous shift system (weekends off) or vice versa.
Decreased hoursDecrease in shift length (eg from 8 hours to 6 hours).
Self-schedulingSelf-scheduling enables individual shift workers to have some control over which shifts they work, their start times or when their rest days occur.
Combined shift interventionsCombinations of the above, most usually shift rotation combinations, eg change to fast and forward rotation.