New Work & Health

12. May 2023
12. May 2023 Elvira Radaca

„Work must be rethought!” is a statement that we have been encountering more and more frequently lately. Reactions to this statement can be found, for example, in new work concepts: four-day weeks, flexible working hours or agile working are just a few examples of these concepts. In particular, megatrends such as digitalization or health are considered to be strong influencing factors, which bring the topics of flexibility and dissolution of boundaries (blending of private and working life), among others, into the focus of science and business.

On the one hand, flexible working arrangements are perceived as a blessing, because people can determine their own working hours and location. Among other things, this makes it much easier to reconcile family and career. However, it can also quickly happen that both worlds (work and private life) can no longer be clearly separated from each other and a kind of dissolution of boundaries takes place.

In addition to the issue of work organization, an increasing number of studies indicate that presenteeism, i.e. working despite illness, is becoming more and more common. But why is this the case? Is there a connection here? We investigated these and other questions in a recently published study and examined phenomena of work design in the form of flexible work arrangements as well as de-limitation on the behavior of employees during illness in more detail (Poethke et al., 2023).

Our results show, among other things, that flexible work design prevents presenteeism, whereas disengagement can increase presenteeism. It is therefore of great importance that we give ourselves the opportunity to make use of flexible work arrangements and adapt our working hours and place of work to our individual needs. However, we should always make sure to set clear boundaries and to establish regular times for recreation and private life.

To the study: