Working 9-to-6 is seriously outdated, flexible working is better for everyone

Tired

You wake up every morning, buy a cup a coffee feeling barely awake and rush to the office before 9am. By the time you’ve started to focus, it’s already noon and you’re shocked by how unproductive you’ve been. You try your best to finish all your tasks after lunch, at which point you realise you’ve wasted the entire morning already!

There is now a large body of research that indicates the 9-to-6 work schedule doesn’t align properly with our biological body clocks. Instead, flexible working schedules have not only been proven to better align with our generation’s lifestyle, but it’s also been shown to improve overall efficiency, productivity and performance.

A report by The Gauradian cites a thesis published in 2014 by Dr Paul Kelley, a well-known clinical research associate at the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Oxford University, which reported that at the age of 10, the natural time to wake up is 6:30am. Once you reach the age of 16, this increases to 8am. At 18, your body’s body clock is optimized to wake up at 9am. The brain controls the body’s natural rhythm and he found that if you conduct and align your activities with your body’s natural rhythm, performance, emotional well-being and general health all increase.

Millennials: Flexible working hours increases productivity

According to research from Bentley University, 77% of millennials agreed that flexible working hours can enhance their productivity. Thanks to technological advancements, people can work anywhere and at any time. More than 89% of millennials will check their work emails during non-work hours. Clearly demonstrating that the strict 9-to-6 schedule is becoming rare.

As time progresses, a de-centralized workforce will become more prevalent and for the first time it’s foreseeable that flexible and long-distance working will become the norm, rather than a “privilege” like previously thought. It’s predicted that by 2025, when millennials will become the most dominate demographic within the workforce in the job market, the idea of a 9-to-6 working day will be abandoned completely.

Even before 2025, significant and rapid changes have already been taking place. In the U.S., according to a survey conducted by Upwork in 2017, there were an estimated 57.3 million people working as freelancers, which was nearly 36% of the total workforce. This group alone contributing over $1.4 trillion to the economy.

Saying goodbye to 9-to-6 is good for everyone

Numerous studies have identified that by giving up static/regular hours, both employees and employers experience the following benefits:

  • Balance: Having flexible hours allows for much more efficient work/life integration across groups of people, including colleagues and families. All parties can be more accommodating to each other’s priorities.
  • Avoiding Peak Traffic/Rush Hours: An incredible amount of time is spent in traffic jams and commuting, which seriously harms productivity and the economy as a whole. This is a time and energy drain that could be spent focusing on work.
  • It’s been shown that providing work hour flexibility increases employees’ sense of belonging and in turn, their wellbeing, productivity and retention.

No matter how many hours your day is, abolishing this traditional and regular working schedule is an irreversible trend that will lead to a number of benefits for everyone. The only way to adapt to an ever-changing job market, is it continue to equip yourself for the future.

Naomi Chan

Career Coach and professional career hacker at Team Vanna

2 min read

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