Faculty Publications

Title

Workplace flexibility, self-reported health, and health care utilization

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Flexible work, Health care utilization, Occupational health, Work-related stress

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Work and Stress

Volume

23

Issue

1

First Page

45

Last Page

59

Abstract

Flexible work arrangements, or organizational practises that permit employees to adjust their work schedule or location to better manage demands outside of work, are a popular family-friendly benefit. There is relatively little research examining the health outcomes associated with flexibility and no published studies examining associations with health care utilization. We analyzed responses to self-administered Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) completed by employees of a large multinational pharmaceutical company in the USA (N = 2976). The HRA included measures of perceived flexibility and self-appraised health. Health care utilization records from the year following completion of the HRA were merged with the self-reported data. Greater levels of flexibility were associated with better health: that is, with less self-reported stress and strain, and better physical health. Flexibility was not related to either acute visits to a health care provider or number of prescriptions. However, after controlling for self-reported health, those participants with greater flexibility had marginally more health care visits. The results suggest that, despite their other benefits, workplace flexibility programmes are unlikely to reduce organizational health care costs in the short term. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2009

DOI of published version

10.1080/02678370902833932

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