As early as 2015, some business experts have already made the prognosis: the 9-to-5 workday is already dying. The 8-hour workday, 5 days a week, or the 40-hour workweek, was born in the 1940s. So, it seems that the life of this 80-something year-old schedule is now at its end. Or is it?
Times are changing
The 40-hour workweek law was passed as a means to address extreme working hours demanded by employers to their employees. It worked for a time, especially in the manufacturing age, where people need to work together in shifts. However, between then and now, a lot has changed.
Work surveys have showed that today, there are more working mothers than in the previous decades. More than 60 percent of families today have both parents working, and many of them have young children. In fact, 70 percent of remote workers today are between the ages of 25 and 44.
Also, technology has advanced tremendously, such that it is now easier to do work outside the traditional office setting. And people can now work together without having to be at the same place, thanks to the Internet, cloud technology, and collaboration apps.
What is remote work?
Remote work is a work style or preference that allows people to work in a way that makes the most sense for them both professionally and personally. It includes certain freedoms. It can mean working several days out of the office, usually at home or some dedicated space. Some remote workers also enjoy flexible time, working at certain times when they feel more productive, or before or after they attend to other personal affairs, such as family or kids.
Why did it happen?
Remote work somehow became more visible and viable as companies became more global. Because of connectivity, employers can now choose from a greater talent pool that goes beyond their city, country, or regional boundaries.
Another reason is the changing or blurring definition of what an office is. As businesses began to measure employees based on their work output, there is less reason for the staff to stay in the office, and for bosses to monitor and micromanage them.
Why do employees prefer and employers support remote work?
Remote work is a growing phenomenon. Some of the reasons why employees prefer working remotely are because:
- It allows them to have a greater work-life balance (= happiness).
- Remote work gives them the flexibility where to work, what to wear while working, and at what times, so they can incorporate personal schedules in between.
- Also, it allows them to operate with certain autonomy, creating more ownership, that results in more productivity.
Employers also support remote work because of the following reasons:
- They prefer productive employees more than those they have to constantly monitor or track.
- Employers found out that remote workers have increased job satisfaction, which results in better work output.
- Bottom line, they are able to save money, with a need for only a smaller office space, with more location choices that leads to better access to customers and partners.
So why isn’t everyone doing it?
Remote work also has some disadvantages. People working remotely complain of loneliness because of working in isolation. Those who are unable to structure their time are in danger of working endlessly, because emails and chats can come in at any time. Individuals who do not have a dedicated space or the needed discipline, can be easily distracted by TV, social media, other people and events happening at their place.
However, these issues can be resolved by a variety of solutions. Obviously, communication apps, such as Skype, are among the most used tool by remote workers. Work management platforms, such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp also enable employees to focus on what is important, complete work on schedule, control their notifications, and keep everyone in the loop. Bridge24 is an application that connects to these PM tools to provide users with more views, greater data control, and enhanced reporting and exporting tools.
9-to-5 is still alive!
Going to the office 8 hours a day, five days a week is still the norm for the rest of the world. And people will continue to accept it, because we are social beings. We complain of it, and yet having a standard work schedule makes it predictable for us. However, the 40-hour workweek is now more flexible for many employees. Some work eight 9-hour work days and one 8-hour day over two weeks. This gives them eight long Monday to Thursdays, one short Friday, and a second Friday off. Others work four 10-hour workdays with a three day weekend every week.
There is no mistake that remote work is the future. For knowledge workers, it will be the norm. In fact, 35 percent of remote workers want more days where they can work remotely. Furthermore, 16 percent even want to be freelancers with a chance to work with multiple employers. And 88 percent of them would recommend working remotely to another person.
Not all workers can work remotely, though. For example, nurses and healthcare providers will have to be in hospitals and clinics. In the end, there is no single schedule that is right for everyone. As it is happening now, technology, automation, and even advances in transportation will definitely make it easier for everyone. In the future, business owners and employees, corporations and individuals, private enterprises and government institutions will find and manage a schedule and system that will work for the good of both personal and common interests.