More flexible work arrangements, such as those used during the Covid-19 crisis, are good for the economy, for businesses and for workers, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

In a report released on Friday, the ILO reviews the effects of working time on business performance and work-life balance.

“This report shows that if we put into practice the lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis and observe precisely how working hours are structured, as well as their lengths as a whole, we can create a scenario ‘win-win’ by improving both business performance and work-life balance,” said Jon Messenger, lead author of the study.

The report examines the crisis response measures taken by governments and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic to help keep different entities running and safeguard jobs and finds that the increase in the number of workers working reduced hours helped prevent job losses.

The measures taken during the Covid-19 crisis provide, according to the ILO, new evidence that giving workers more flexibility about how, where and when they work they work, can be positive both for themselves and for companies, for example by improving productivity.

Conversely, the ILO said in a statement, restricting flexibility has significant costs, including increased staff turnover.

“There is a large body of evidence showing that policies aimed at work-life balance lead to significant gains for companies and this supports the argument that such policies are indeed a ‘win-win’ scenario. “for both employers and employees,” the report said.

The ILO stresses, however, that while teleworking helps to maintain employment and creates a new framework for employee autonomy, it requires – as well as other forms of flexible working arrangements – regulations aimed at limiting its effects. potential negatives, through policies referring to the “right to disconnect”.

According to the report, a significant part of the world’s workforce has different working hours than the standard eight-hour day (or 40 hours of work per week). More than a third regularly work more than 48 hours a week, and a fifth less than 35 hours a week.