WIT Press

Towards More Sustainable Work Patterns


Free (open access)





Page Range

487 - 494




251 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


P. Blyton


Most discussions on sustainability and urban life ignore individuals as employees: any focus on work organisations tends to concentrate on the ways that those organisations interact with their external environments. However, a broader approach to sustainability raises the question of what more sustainable work lives in those settings would look like. An analysis of the working patterns that currently typify most industrialised countries highlights a number of aspects in the arrangement of work schedules that need to be addressed to establish more sustainable long-term work patterns for the twenty-first century. Drawing on research on working time patterns and work flexibility, the background influences affecting current patterns are explored. This helps to identify, among other things, the potential obstacles to reforming extant work arrangements at a more accelerated pace than is currently evident. A number of reforms to create more sustainable work arrangements are discussed, involving modifications both to the scheduling of work and also the location of work. Keywords: work patterns, compressed workweeks, flexitime, homeworking, commuting, congestion. 1 Introduction Most discussions on economic and social sustainability that refer to individual attitudes and behaviours ignore individuals as employees. Yet the way that people engage in, and experience paid work, particularly its location, and patterns of work arrangements and scheduling, has implications for sustainability. In turn, sustainability issues embedded in work arrangements can be viewed from both an individual sustainability view point (in relation to a successful balance between work and non-work life) and from a community


work patterns, compressed workweeks, flexitime, homeworking, commuting, congestion.