Économie et Statistique n° 352-353 - 2002Social and professional time through time-use surveys
Working hours and their organisation
The recent Use of Time survey conducted by INSEE before the 35-hour working week laws came into force uses a new study method that describes working hours by each quarter of an hour throughout the working week. Schedules are highly diverse and can be broken down into six main occupational types for full-time workers. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to organise their time at will. They work long hours, which spill over into the evenings and weekends. Teachers work fairly short hours, broken down into numerous short periods worked partly at home, after work and on weekends. Specialists, managers and administrators are in a midway position between entrepreneurs and operational staff. They have a fairly large amount of freedom in the organisation of their working hours and often state that they are «snowed under» and that their professional life encroaches on their family and home time. However, they work less in the evenings and on weekends than the other wage earners. Personal service providers (nurses, non-manual retail employees, cleaning ladies, etc.) work often-irregular hours. They work a great deal in the early evenings when other wage earners have finished their day. It is among the staff of major bureaucratic organisations that the most individuals are found who work a standard five-day week with regular daily hours. This population also displays a particularly clear-cut separation between working life and social time. The management of their working hours is fairly restrictive. Lastly, industrial manual employees, police officers and the armed forces differ from this last group in terms of their fairly high frequency of night time hours. Given identical lengths of working hours, working standard hours evenly spread over five days is conducive to the expression of the feeling of having time. Conversely, being responsible for the organisation of one's own working hours strengthens the feeling of being snowed under.