Jennifer E. Swanberg, PhD, MMHS, Johnson & Wales University; Rene Pana-Cryan, PhD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Les Boden, PhD, Boston University; Jennifer M. Cavallari, ScD, CIH, University of Connecticut; Lorraine M. Conroy, University of Illinois at Chicago; Michael Foley, MS, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; Marie-Anne Sanon Rosemberg, PhD, RN, University of Michigan
This poster presents the research gaps identified in the Healthy Work Design Well-being Cross-Sector’s National Occupational Research Agenda (HWD NORA; https://www.cdc.gov/nora/councils/hwd/research-agenda.html) that relate to non-standard work arrangements (NSWAs) and the HWD council’s (https://www.cdc.gov/nora/councils/hwd/default.html) implementation plan that aims to address these gaps and improve the safety, health and well-being (well-being hereafter) of workers in these arrangements. HWD aims to protect and advance worker well-being by improving the design of work, management practices, and the physical and psychosocial work environment by focusing on all aspects of how work affects overall well-being, including physical, psychological, social, and economic aspects.
While there was a 1-2 percentage point increase in the share of the U.S. workforce in alternative work arrangements from 2005 to 2015, it is difficult to compare trends across surveys with different sampling frames, at different points of the business cycle, and possibly reporting work status inaccurately, especially during a period of changing work relationships (Katz and Krueger, 2016, 2019). In addition, details on work arrangements are commonly only collected for a worker’s main job. This leads to a poor understanding of the complexities associated with holding and managing multiple jobs, simultaneously. Many workers in NSWA have no expectation of permanence (Howard, 2017) and many NSWAs are characterized by temporariness, instability, unpredictability of work hours, limited schedule control, and lack of legal protections and employer-sponsored benefits for workers (Bushnell et al., 2017). These factors, including flexibility in work schedules and location, can affect worker well-being (Bhattacharya and Ray 2021; Ray and Pana-Cryan, 2021; Foley, 2017; Howard, 2017; De Moortel et al., 2014; Swanberg et al., 2014; Henly and Lambert, 2014; Virtanen et al., 2005).
NSWAs continue to be understudied, and their determinants and well-being consequences continue to be poorly understood. This is partially due to the current data collection systems that do not adequately capture information about both NSWAs and associated adverse health outcomes. In addition, traditional harmful characteristics of non-standard work. Similarly, traditional intervention dissemination models may be inadequate for improving the well-being of workers in certain NSWAs.
The HWD NORA aims to identify the knowledge and actions most urgently needed to characterize occupational risk factors and prevent avoidable adverse health outcomes among workers. This agenda provides a vehicle for stakeholders to describe the most relevant issues, research gaps, and needs for the U.S. workforce and is broader than any one agency or organization. The agenda was developed through a series of conference calls and email communications among council members. A draft list of relevant topics was then refined and grouped into seven broad objectives by the council. Working subgroups were formed for each of the seven objectives, one of which focused on improving the well-being of workers in NSWAs. Information sources used included scientific articles and council member expertise and experience.
The council identified seven NSWA research gaps, including:
– describing NSWA characteristics that are detrimental to worker well-being and the mechanisms of these effects;
– identifying and evaluating interventions that improve the well-being of workers in NSWAs;
– disseminating effective interventions that improve the well-being of workers in NSWAs;
– collecting and disseminating best practices for improving the well-being of workers in NSWAs, such as community-based participatory research, policies preventing workplace discrimination, and training addressing worker needs;
– understanding specific socioeconomic and other risk factors, such as job insecurity, that affect the prevalence of precarious work and jobs with NSWAs;
– improving occupational health surveillance systems’ data collection on work arrangements; and,
– developing surveillance methods that measure the prevalence and characteristics of non-standard work and identify workers in NSWAs.
In addition, the council developed and will publish an implementation plan to address and advance the HWD NORA by addressing these gaps. Actions include:
– adopting working definitions of NSWAs according to characteristics that affect worker well-being;
– cataloguing data collection systems that include metrics on these characteristics and their effects on worker well-being;
– conducting a scoping review of interventions that improve the well-being of workers in NSWAs;
– convening a virtual workshop on interventions that improve the well-being of workers in NSWAs;
– convening a virtual conference at which industry, non-profit, and advocacy groups present promising practices for improving the well-being of workers in NSWAs
– building on the actions above and identifying funding sources and partners to continue this important work, and
– publishing findings from all the above actions.
This poster improves awareness of the research gaps identified in the HWD NORA and the implementation plan to address these gaps and improve the well-being of workers in NSWAs.
Gaps remain in our understanding of the determinants and consequences of HWD overall and NSWAs specifically on worker well-being. This poster presents efforts by the HWD council to address the gaps and advance the HWD NORA.