The pandemic’s irreversible shift of our society’s accepted notions regarding work and the worker has induced a collective reexamination of the routines that had existed as the trademarks defining the corporate world. More and more does it appear as though the sharp increase in the quantity of people working remotely will endure even after the lockdowns have ended, signaling that while fears surrounding COVID-19 may have been the trigger for the transition to working from home initially, the lessons learned from the spell at home speak more universally to the purpose of the worker as society and technology evolves, and just might stick. Along with reimagining the workplace as an in-person office, people have begun reconsidering their commitment to the 9 to 5 schedule. The full potential of a flexible workspace lies not only in freedom to work where one wants, but when.
Did you know?
83% of employers surveyed saying that the shift to remote work has been successful for their company
54% of workers want to continue working remotely after the pandemic
80% of workers would turn down a job that did not offer a flexible work schedule for one that did
76% of workers said they’d consider staying at their current employer if they could work flexible hours
What will happen to the 9 to 5 schedule in a post-COVID world? Is 9 to 5 over?
More than just a catchy Dolly song, 9 to 5 represents the hours that workers everywhere would and for the most part, still do work every single day, from 9 am to 5 pm. But is this ritual destined to end with an increased appetite for flexibility among workers? A survey around the world reported that 30% of workers would be inclined to look for a new job if their current employer made it a requirement to return to the office in person, full time from 9 to 5. Having flexible hours is a privilege that, now discovered as possible, is one that workers are averse to giving up moving forward. And in effect, though such opportunities remain rare at the moment, the companies that have granted their workers the freedom to work a schedule of their own creation are better for it.
Work-anytime policies exist at a small number of tech companies, including DuckDuckGo and Automatic, enabling their employees to choose the distribution of their own work hours in a day. Whether they decide to travel the world as a nomad or simply get their errands done in the morning as opposed to after 5 pm, it is a freedom that sets up positions at those companies to be more desirable, attracting employees of higher quality. Another participant is Southwest Airlines, which allows pilots to choose their own time slots of flights. Keeping your employees rigidly stuck in the 9 to 5 schedule not only dulls their creativity over time through its monotonous air, but means that many employees will not be working at their peak productive times, the quality and quantity of their collective work falling below the potential level if they were.
Individual peak productive times are a significant factor to consider when trying to maximize productivity levels. Not to mention that allowing your employees to have flexibility in the hours they work opens your scope of potential employees out to different time zones, bringing different perspectives to diversify your team. As the benefits of giving your employees what they want and will be the most conductive to increased productivity reflect directly on the health of companies themselves, it might just be time to rework the schedule created by the Ford Motor Company in the 1920s. The times and circumstances have changed, and we should change our habits to embrace them. Humans, unlike cars and machines, cannot run a routine program to function the exact same way every day – we will break down.
“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living
Barely getting by, it's all taking and no giving
They just use your mind, and they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it”
– Dolly Parton