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S12-3 Working hours, health, well-being and participation in working life
  1. Mikko Härmä
  1. Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland


Dr. Härmä is professor on working hours, ageing and sleep and coordinator of a large joint Nordic project for a five-year long research scheme “Working hours, health, well-being and participation in working life” (WOW). The research scheme focuses on how working hours influence the general health and well-being in the Nordic countries. Dr. Härmä will share the ideas behind this project and discuss potential solutions the project will explore.

The project aims to create working time –related solutions especially to women and ageing workers who often have challenging working hours. Among these groups, work-life balance and health, which are the key determinants of well-being at work, will be studied. The project consists of three groups of studies: studies on socio-economic trends, cohort studies and intervention studies. Cohort studies and studies on the socio-economic trends are already in good progress. Based on the first results, working hours in Nordic countries show their own working time regime characterised by high working time autonomy and high work-place flexibility compared to other European countries. Night, roster and rotating shift work seem to be the most influential factors on reporting low control over daily hours and time off. The majority of the cohort studies in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are focused on nurses, with the aim to study long-terms effects of working hours on health and wellbeing using mostly objective or precise exposure data. The project will also combine the Finnish-Danish and Finnish-Swedish cohorts to study shift work and working time autonomy. Nine intervention studies will create and test both organisational and individual level interventions related to working hours, health and well-being.

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