Variation at work: alternations between physically and mentally demanding tasks in blue-collar occupations
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© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The aims of this questionnaire study were to describe the occurrence and desired number of alternations between mental and physical tasks in industrial and non-industrial blue-collar work, and determine to which extent selected personal and occupational factors influence these conditions. On average, the 122 participating workers (55 females) reported to have close to four alternations per day between mental and physical tasks, and to desire more alternations than they actually had. They also expressed a general preference for performing a physical task after a mental task and vice versa. In univariate regression models, the desired change in task alternations was significantly associated with gender, age, occupation, years with current work tasks and perceived job control, while occupation was the only significant determinant in a multiple regression model including all factors. Our results suggest that alternations between productive physical and mental tasks could be a viable option in future job rotation. Practitioner Summary: We addressed attitudes among blue-collar workers to alternations between physically and mentally demanding tasks. More alternations were desired than those occurring in the job, and workers preferred performing a physical task after a mental and vice versa. Alternating physical and mental tasks could, thus, be a viable option in job rotation.
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