Work as we’ve traditionally known it is changing. The common work shift is being forced to adapt as technology evolves and impacts industries of all types. Even as many jobs face the risk of extinction, so too is the once-desired 9-to-5 workday.
New roles requiring round-the-clock attention are becoming more common, and the average work week in many industries has increased by seven hours, to 47. Add in the average time for the daily commute – 25 minutes in the United States – and work/life balance is becoming severely affected. According to reports, this reality is prompting employees to strive for more flexible work schedules.
Millennials currently make up more than one-third of the American workforce, so tuning into their mentality is vital for businesses to succeed. More than 70 percent of millennials cite a flexible work schedules as a priority when choosing their next role. Emily Moyer, head of admissions for Remote Year, affirms that “flexible work schedules make you happier.” It’s becoming clear that companies willing to consider moving away from the traditional Monday-Friday 9-to-5 paradigm are more attractive to potential employees.
This is evident in the latest salary survey by tech recruiter Anderson Frank, which lists working from home and flexible working hours in the top six sought-after employee benefits.
With over half of all permanent respondents in the survey already spending some time working away from the office —and 80% of contractors working entirely remotely–the data shows a growing desire among workers to avoid the office environment when possible. The option to work remotely was also high on their list of reasons for wanting to change jobs.
Stress-related illnesses have long been a concern for businesses and employees alike. A report by Acas points out that flexible working patterns can help improve the health and well-being of employees, and by extension, reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and enhance employee engagement and loyalty.
David Nimmo, a senior software engineer at Click Travel, insists he is much more productive since changing to remote work. “I don’t set an alarm anymore. I just wake up whenever I naturally wake up, have a shower, and then go to work, and this has had a very positive effect overall,” he says.
“I’d notice that I’d be much more productive [working remotely],” Nimmo continues. “And from there, it just makes sense, right? If I’m more productive working from home and I don’t have to spend hours per week commuting, why would I not want to do that? There’s a lot to be said for the quality of life that you get to enjoy by not being based in an office.”
Nimmo backs up the notion that remote working increases employee loyalty, saying he has no intention of leaving his role and wouldn’t return to an office-based role—“even for a massive pay raise.”
With technology enabling business to be conducted anywhere, the need for workers to be physically located in the same office is diminishing. Tools such as Skype allow meetings to take place between staff members wherever they are located, and even important conversations can easily take place on the move.
While some workers may prefer to stick to a more traditional routine and certain roles will continue to require in-house employees, it is clear that office-based, 9-to-5 workforce is changing.
As digitalization continues to impact industries across the world, companies and employees alike must embrace this change. What may have worked well in the past may no longer fit the needs to today’s businesses and employees. Routine is not always required, and flexibility is becoming more standard. Regimes are too often brought down from within, so the key is to work together to provide an environment that works for everyone.
For more on remote workers, see How To Leverage Tech To Engage A Remote Workforce.