The Working Time Society Today
The Working Time Society (WTS) and the Scientific Committee on “Shiftwork and Working Time” of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH-SC SW&WT) are twin associations focused on studies, research and practices on psycho-social aspects and health problems connected with night and shift work and, more generally, with working hours.
The two associations operate in very strict connection, sharing the main officers (chair and secretary) and the most important scientific events, with the explicit aim of avoiding useless or distorted competition, but keeping together people with different scientific backgrounds, job positions and interests, for a factual contribution to improving comprehension and management of working time organisation issues.
The aim is the improvement of workers’ health and well-being via proper preventive (e.g. flexible working hours, ergonomic shift schedules) and compensative measures (e.g. work and social organisation, counselling, medical surveillance).
The increasing number of members of both ICOH Scientific Committee and Working Time Society, including scholars with different backgrounds (biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, management), many young scientists and people from economically developed and developing countries, testifies the growing interest and importance of this issue and its multifaceted aspects worth increasing attention in a globalised world.
In fact, modern society is changing quite rapidly both in terms of economic and productive strategies, and in terms of social organisation and individual behaviours. The so-called “24-hour Society” requires a social organisation where time constraints are no longer limits to human activities: consequently, the arrangement of working time has become a crucial factor in work organisation, and acquires different values according to the economic and social consequences likely to arise at different periods in the company’s and worker’s life. More and more workers are engaged in irregular or “non-standard” working hours all over the world: in Europe, only 1 employed worker out of 4, and 1 self-employed worker out of 10 are engaged in normal daywork on weekdays.