The Stable Scheduling Study: Cross-Sector Implications for Improving Scheduling Practices in Low-Wage Jobs
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The SSS intervention is unique in its focus on improving multiple dimensions of work schedules–schedule consistency, predictability, adequacy, and input–and in tracing possible effects on both business outcomes and employee health. Stores in the San Francisco and Chicago metropolitan areas (n=28) were randomly assigned to treatment (a multi-component intervention) and control conditions; the experiment ran from November 2015 to August 2016. Data come from both firm systems and employee surveys. Data from payroll and scheduling systems are used to measure the consistency, predictability, and adequacy of associates’ work hours, employee surveys capture schedule input and employee health and well-being, and employee demographic information comes from the firm’s personnel system. Qualitative interviews with managers open the black box of implementation.
Results to-date indicate that the intervention significantly improved schedule consistency, predictability, and input, although effect sizes are modest and the intervention did not improve the adequacy (number) of work hours for most associates. Comparisons between control and treatment stores (complemented with difference-in-difference approaches) indicate that the intervention improved both store sales and worker productivity. The paper will include results from ongoing analyses of possible intervention effects on health and wellbeing (e.g., general health, psychosomatic symptoms, perceived stress, sleep) and work-to-life outcomes (work-to-life conflict, interference with family routines and exercise).
Together, the findings on business and employee outcomes offer useful information to both employers seeking to improve scheduling practices in hourly jobs and to policy makers and advocates interested in scheduling legislation that is feasible for employers and meaningful to employees. The discussion will highlight the challenges, strategies, and merits of conducting research to advance both employer practice and public policy toward a culture of health in low-wage jobs.