n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - An introductory overview of the 20th International Symposium on Shift work and Working time : research opportunities for South Africa

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



Irregular work schedules and work performed at night has been associated with a number of health and work-related challenges, which originate from the circadian, sleep and lifestyle-related disruptions inherent in such work arrangements. Work hours, in general, have a significant impact on the way people live their lives and as such, understanding "the how and the why" is crucial in order to limit any possible negative developments. An international meeting on shift work was held in Stockholm, Sweden between the 28th of June and the 1st of July this year, hosted by the Stress Research Institute. This biennial event began in 1969, with the first meeting being held in Oslo, Norway, at which there were no more than 30 participants. In 2011, by comparison, over 240 researchers from 30 different countries attended this 20th meeting of the Working Time Society. Such gatherings have served as the platform for researchers and practitioners from around the world to share their experiences and findings related to working time arrangements, and this meeting was no exception. In the opening address, the Chair of the conference organising committee, Professor Kecklund highlighted that throughout the world, work time arrangements show significant variety and stages of development, which in itself presents numerous challenges when it comes to researching, understanding and managing the impacts of such schedules in different contexts. This is why such international meetings are vital.

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