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Flexible Working Arrangements in Healthcare: A Comparison Between Managers of Shift Workers and 9-to-5 Employees

Mercer, Danielle MBA; Russell, Elizabeth MSc; Arnold, Kara A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000091

OBJECTIVE: This study examined healthcare managers’ perceptions of flexible working arrangements and implementation barriers.

BACKGROUND: Work-life conflict can lead to negative health implications, but flexible working arrangements can help manage this conflict. Little research has examined its implementation in 24/7/365 healthcare organizations or within groups of employees working 9 AM to 5 PM (9-5) versus shift-work hours.

METHODS: Questionnaires regarding perceptions to, benefits of, and barriers against flexible working arrangements were administered to managers of 9-5 workers and shift workers in an Atlantic Canadian healthcare organization.

RESULTS: Few differences in perceptions and benefits of flexible working arrangements were found between management groups. However, results indicate that the interaction with patients and/or the immediacy of tasks being performed are barriers for shift-work managers.

CONCLUSIONS: The nature of healthcare presents barriers for managers implementing flexible working arrangements, which differ only based on whether the job is physical (shift work) versus desk related (9-5 work).

Author Affiliations: PhD Candidate (Ms Mercer), Department of Management, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia; and PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology (Ms Russell), and Associate Professor, Faculty of Business Administration (Dr Arnold), Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada.

Mss Mercer and Russell are listed alphabetically and equally contributed to this study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Arnold, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 300 Prince Phillip Dr, St John’s, NL, Canada A1B 3B6 (

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins