There is evidence that work demands have increased in the European Union in the last 20 years. Work demands include factors such as (high) working hours, (low) decision latitude, (low) break control/autonomy, and (high) mental, emotional, and physical demands. For example, whereas only 34% of German employees felt stressed by time pressure in 1994, this number increased to 41% in 2008, with intermediate levels of 36% in 1999 and 38% in 2004 . Similar trends regarding working at high speed and working to meet tight deadlines are also found in the European Work Condition Surveys (EWCS) 1991-2010. An increasing proportion of EU workers report working at a very high speed or to tight deadlines . Whereas 50% of the employees reported working to tight deadlines in 1991, this percentage increased to 63% in 2010. Also, the threshold that workers are expected to reach in some respects appears to be getting more exacting: an increasing proportion of workers in the EU27 are required to meet precise quality standards in their work (74% today as against 69% in 2000).
Prolonged fatigue is among others associated with increased long-term sickness absence. Prolonged fatigue is not only affected by work conditions but also by a lack of recovery from work leading to an increased need for recovery. Rest breaks and leisure time reduce fatigue, especially when individuals are able to mentally detach from work. It is proposed that a positive and knowledgeable attitude towards recovery from work together with specific recovery-related skills may help promote successful workrelated recovery and thus reduce work-related fatigue.
Last date updated on June, 2014