The work world has changed. The global pandemic forced a lot of changes, but even before our fears of the coronavirus kept us at home, the work world was shifting to accommodate freelancers, contract, remote, and other types of more flexible work arrangements. This leads us to wonder if the old “nine to five” concept of work is over. This blog will explore some of the work trends that are becoming our new normal. 

How the Coronavirus Changed Work 

Pew Research recently released a study on how the global pandemic changed the work world. Some believe these changes will last forever. Many offices deemed “non-essential” shut down abruptly a year ago. Some of these businesses simply didn’t survive. Still, others resumed operations with significant changes in place to keep their workforce safe. Today, Pew says about 71% of the American workforce is remote from the traditional office. They found some interesting statistics on how we’re coping with being remote: 

  • Parents who telework say they have a hard time getting work down without interruptions 
  • 81% say they’re using video conferencing to stay in touch with co-workers. 
  • 60% say they prefer working from home. 
  • 47% of workers say they have an adequate workspace at home. 
  • 43% say they have no problems hitting deadlines when working from home.  

The trends that show most workers are interested in staying home to work lend themselves to the idea that the old-fashioned 9 to 5 job is dead. When working from home it’s far easier to dial in at any time of the night or day, for example, when the kids are sleeping or when you cannot. Given that one in three Americans are millennial workers who value “flexibility, autonomy, and fulfillment—things that the 9-to-5 workday doesn’t deliver,” the chances are that these workers are unwilling to remain rigid in the hours they work. Watch Jason Fried’s TED Talk to see how not enough actual work gets done at work. From meetings to micromanagers, working a 9 to 5 simply isn’t as productive as it used to be. 

Working 9 to 5 has a number of problems that the traditional workplace just doesn’t address, including: 

  • Humans are not machines and may not be their most productive during those traditional hours. Today, many of us compose emails at 7 am or work on a document at 10 pm when the kids are asleep. Not every person’s skills and mental peak time comes during the hours of 9 to 5. Employers that know this and allow workers to produce when it’s right for them, will reap the benefit. 
  • Staying flexible is an excellent way to increase productivity. People are not rigid, and some workers will be able to get their job done in less time, and some in more. Happier workers do better work, so cut your workers some slack and let them work when they’re ready. 
  • Your workers may not be as focused during the 9 to 5. There may be a few hours where peak production happens, but we guarantee you won’t get top performance for the full eight hours. Many times, the most productive days are not the longest days. Don’t pigeonhole your employee; let them pick the time when they are the most motivated and productive.  

Allowing your workers the flexibility to make their own hours based on optimum output will improve your business. Holding the worker to an arbitrary schedule based on the outdated construct of the nine to five will not achieve your goals.

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