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WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary, international journal which publishes high quality peer-reviewed manuscripts covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice.
WORK occasionally publishes thematic issues, but in general, issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, the founding editor, and her editorial board especially encourage the publication of research studies, clinical practice, case study reports, as well as personal narratives and critical reflections of lived work experiences (autoethnographic/autobiographic scholarship),
Sounding Board commentaries and
Speaking of Research articles which provide the foundation for better understanding research to facilitate knowledge dissemination.
Narrative Reflections on Occupational Transitions, a new column, is for persons who have successfully transitioned into, between, or out of occupations to tell their stories in a narrative form. With an internationally renowned editorial board,
WORK maintains high standards in the evaluation and publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts are reviewed expeditiously and published in a timely manner.
WORK prides itself on being an author-friendly journal.
WORK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.
*WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)* *WORK is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)* *WORK gives out the yearly Cheryl Bennett Best Paper Award*
Abstract: Objective: This article is based on an exploratory study in occupational psychology. Participants: The participants were French female bus drivers in 1996. Methods: The qualitative approach of the study, based on interviews with and observation of some 40 drivers, stressed their difficulties in managing two occupations, professional and familial. In fact, the job involves work in shifts that change every week for every driver. Results: The management of family duties, still planned by the…majority of the women, requires of them extremely complex strategies of reconciliation. The real dynamics of such reconciliatory work is not ever taken into account in studies undertaken in occupational psychology or in ergonomics. Conclusions: This article is therefore intended to stimulate researchers concerned in particular with women's work to think about a methodological approach pertinent to analyzing the activity of reconciliation. This activity does not consist a simple proximity between professional and familial tasks but demands, rather, a mental and material linking of the two occupations that remains for now only implicit in women's work. Our task is to render it explicit in order to identify it.
Keywords: Reconciliation, professional and family work, activity of linking, women bus drivers, reflexive activity
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 5-14, 2011
Abstract: Objective: This paper presents research on the early retirement of kindergarten teachers in France. We sought to understand the reasons for this in a context which the government is putting in place measures to lengthen people's working lives. Methods: In order to examine the difficulties teachers experience at the end of their working lives, we conducted interviews focusing on job constraints, health problems, and the impact work has on the private sphere, with reference…to the task system model put forward by Curie (2002). Participants: Eight females in their fifties were interviewed. Results: Despite their experience acquired over the years, the more teachers age, the greater the human cost of their job. Health problems increase, work-related fatigue worsens and they need more time to recover. The teachers are also more affected by work-related constraints. From this perspective, the menopause seems to aggravate work-related fatigue. The teachers' feeling of personal effectiveness declines with age, causing them to worry about the last few years of their working lives. This forces teachers to make more and more adjustments to both their jobs and their private lives and sometimes makes them cut their working hours and in extreme cases take early retirement. Conclusions: The close links between the role of a female teacher and a mother contribute to premature exhaustion phenomena. Several areas for change are proposed.
Keywords: Gender, aging, end of career, health, ergonomy
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 15-30, 2011
Abstract: Objective: Like most Western countries, France is faced with rapid changes in how social welfare and care regimes are being organized. Home care for the elderly has been closely affected by such trends. This study will analyse the consequences of such developments on work schedules and working conditions of female home care workers. Methods: We carried out 55 biographical interviews with experienced female home care workers employed by six associations as well as 13 interviews…with representatives of those associations. Results: The findings reveal an increase in time pressure linked to a reduction in care time per care recipient as well as the fragmentation of care work. These conditions negatively affect the provision of quality care as well as care workers' physical and mental well-being and blur the distinction between workers' professional and home lives. Conclusions: The negative impacts observed call for a change in perspective in relation to how home care work for fragile, elderly people is organized. Our research bears out the necessity of drawing on the experience of the most highly-qualified care workers and entrusting them with the autonomy needed to manage the care time allotted to each care recipient.
Keywords: Home paid care, time constraints, work organization, occupational health, work-life balance, gendered division of work
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 31-46, 2011
Abstract: Objective: Workers' attempts to accommodate family needs may be considered illegitimate in the paid work sphere. Their attempts at work-family balancing (WFB) in that sphere can remain invisible, even when those attempts require considerable energy. Since identification of WFB strategies can potentially lead to suggestions to improve management practices, we report an attempt to find them in the work sphere. Participants: 14 care aides in a Québec residence for seniors and 2~schedule managers were…recruited. Methods: Qualitative ergonomic analysis was employed. 24 hours observation; interviews of nursing and human resources staff; qualitative ergonomic analysis by two researchers; feedback collected from meetings with management and union. Strategies for schedule choice were compared between care aides with heavier vs. lighter family responsibilities. Results: For workers with heavier family responsibilities, choice of work schedules was almost entirely conditioned by family considerations, leaving little leeway to manage workers' own health protection. Conclusions: Family constraints affected activity at work, and strategies for handling family constraints could potentially be affected by changes in work organization. Managers should encourage full discussion of work-family balancing strategies if they wish to adapt their working conditions to the workers, and ergonomists should include this balancing as a facet of work activity, despite possible negative consequences.
Abstract: Québec teachers have been identified as having a high level of stress and having difficulties with work-family balancing (WFB). An analysis of their work activity was done to identify task elements that could be changed. Participants: Work of 15 teachers was observed and 20 other teachers were interviewed. Methods: Ergonomic analysis, a mixed method that combines qualitative analysis with some quantitative data: 87 hours' observation; 15 interviews. Environmental parameters were recorded in 8…classrooms and in two faculty workrooms. Working postures were recorded. Results: Teachers were subject to numerous demands in an often inadequate environment. A new management practice required teachers to spend 300 min/week outside class but in school, where their work could be monitored. The timed and scheduled tasks could not be done in the rooms provided due to overcrowding, inadequate physical environment, and lack of access to computers and telephones. Time at home decreased but work done at home did not. Conclusions: The physical environment of teaching impacts teaching activity. Work organization that treats a complex, results-oriented task as if it could be well represented by the number of supervised minutes spent on it can be problematic. WFB should be considered when work is re-organized.
Keywords: Work-family conflict, job control, strategies, ergonomics, work analysis
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 59-70, 2011
Abstract: Objective: Our questioning focuses on the role played by the gendered division of labour and by the collective organisation of work in strategies deployed by workers in order to reconcile professional and private lives. How does work organisation facilitate schedule management so as to fit in with workers' domestic lives by offering the possibility of work activity accommodations? Method: A comparison of two stress management studies allowed us to examine the strategies used to…manage professional and private schedules. One study focused on nurses in a female environment and one study looked at police officers or a male environment recently incorporating women into the work group. Results: In the hospital sector, management resorts to curtailing leave in order to overcome staff shortages and ensure the quality of health care; however, the female environment facilitates collective regulation to adapt work schedules. These management imposed organisational constraints are especially difficult for female staff due to their roles in the domestic sphere. It is more difficult for women to adapt work schedules in the predominantly male police officer environment. Police ask supervisors for timetable changes more frequently following the introduction of women to the group. Conclusion: The strategies to reconcile professional and private lives depend on division of labour and collective regulation.
Abstract: Objective: France encounters difficulties attracting physicians to work in hospitals. Organisation at work and at home may be at the heart of the problem for female as well as for male physicians. Participants: A comprehensive questionnaire was filled out online by a representative sample of 1924 French hospital physicians. Methods: We conducted gender bivariate and multivariate analysis of the risk factors for burnout and intent to leave the profession(ITL). Results: ITL was declared by 17.4% of physicians. According…to 41.3% of female physicians (FP), their profession was an obstacle to having children (versus 19.3% for male physicians (MP)). Major factors linked with burnout were Effort/Reward imbalance (FP adjOR=5.09, MP adjOR=5.93), Work-family conflicts (FP adjOR=2.97, MP adjOR=3.04), and Low quality of teamwork (FP adjOR=1.82, MP adjOR=2.68). Major factors linked with ITL were Low quality of teamwork (FP adjOR=4.49, MP adjOR=3.03), Patient-related burnout (FP adjOR=2.10, MP adjOR=2.35) and General burnout (FP adjOR=1.85, MP adjOR=1.45). Conclusions: Excessive job demands are linked with burnout and with work-family conflicts, conducting to difficulties in organising one's life in order to have and raise children. Potential solutions include facilitating teamwork in order to reduce departure, which increase workload on those who stay increasing their work family conflict.
Abstract: Objective: The work activity of counsellors in shelters for female victims of conjugal violence is explored. The consortium of shelters requested the study because of complaints of worker stress, difficulties in management and high employee turnover. Methods: This qualitative and participatory community study involved a team of specialists in ergonomics and social work from the Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la biologie, la santé, la sociélté et l'environnement (CINBIOSE), brought together by the…Community Outreach Service of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Presented here are the study findings pertaining to training. Twenty-two semi-structured interviews and 80 hours of observation of work and training were conducted with counsellors from two contrasting shelters. Results: Observations revealed an intense collaborative activity involving communication by many means. Nonetheless, young counsellors interviewed complained of having few opportunities to develop their counselling skills because they were isolated on evening, night and weekend shifts. In collaboration with the ergonomists, one shelter experimented with new ways of devising the work schedule to favour learning and training. Conclusion: By transforming the training mechanism, job status and work schedules, the shelter made the conditions more conducive to the development of counsellors' skills and health, while eliminating turnover for at least the two following years.
Keywords: Gender, informal training, work organization, ergonomics
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 101-110, 2011
Abstract: Objective: The objective of this study was to from a gender perspective, explore elementary school teacher' experiences of their work situation, and identify conditions that could be health risks. Participants: Eighteen female teachers who work in an elementary school in Northern Sweden. Method: Thematic interviews were conducted using an interview guide. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the transcribed text and interpretations were made…within gender theory. Results: Four categories emerged: "Squeezed between dream and reality", "Effort to keep up with demands", "We can make it together" and "The school needs men's qualities". The categories were linked together with the theme "A struggle for time to teach". The theme describes the conflict between the teachers' ambitions to teach and create a stimulating learning environment versus the increased need for behaviour control that took time from classroom work. Beside work at the school, the teachers carried a large burden of domestic work. Conclusions: Teachers' work includes both endless demands and great joy. Their work is structured within the schools gender system in which caring duties are subordinated despite a growing demand for behaviour control. Traditional gender roles affect their domestic work load.
Keywords: Work load, behaviour control, qualitative analysis, gender, work-home balance
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 111-118, 2011
Abstract: Objective: This paper looks at the role of legislated norms of general application in shaping "family-friendly" workplaces and their interaction with collectively-bargained standards in the retail service sector and more specifically, in a single unionized retail sector in Quebec, Canada. Methods: The methodology used is traditional legal research methodology: analysis of laws, collective agreements and case law. The principal norms examined concern parental and family leave, working time and disparities between…different employment statuses. Results: A series of legislative provisions have been adopted in Quebec over the last 30 years whose objectives are the improvement of family-related leave and the reduction of working time. Unions have also negotiated provisions in collective agreements with these same goals. In the low-wage retail sector studied, the working time standards negotiated between the unions and the employers reflect the characteristics of the sector, most notably extended opening hours, seven days a week. Predictability of hours also varies according to employment status. Such issues as family-unfriendly working time arrangements (last-minute scheduling, asocial hours, etc.) and the need for flexibility in family-related leave are insufficiently taken into account by the legislated and bargained provisions. Conclusions: A fine analysis and comprehension of existing formal regulation, be it legislated or collectively-bargained, is required to fully understand workers' experiences with work-family balance and to identify the gaps between formal norms and the needs expressed by workers with respect to work-family balance.
Keywords: Work-family balance, low-wage retail sector, regulation, legislation, collective bargaining, working time, predictability of hours, employment status, Quebec, Canada
vol. 40, no. Supplement 1, pp. 119-128, 2011