Finding Flexibility in the 9-to-5 Workday

By: Anneken Tappe · August 31, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

The New Workday

White-collar workers may be rushed back to the office — but they’re rushing home just as fast.

While many companies focus on ensuring employees return to the office, there seems to be less emphasis on how long they stay. As workplace flexibility increases to meet worker demands, the traditional 9-to-5 workday may soon be a thing of the past.

Only half of all office visits last six hours, according to wifi data, compared to pre-pandemic times, when 84% of visits lasted six hours minimum.

Flexibility Is King

While some employers are pushing back against remote work, they are more open to more flexible schedules.

Meta (META) axed remote work but only ordered employees back to the office for three days a week starting in September. For Zoom (ZM) employees, it’s just two. Moreover, businesses don’t appear interested in micromanaging time in the office once workers are there — a seismic shift from the “time in chair” productivity metric of days past.

Perhaps data simply supports that the rigid 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity. Last quarter, for example, U.S. productivity increased 3.7% year-over-year across industries. Moreover, a less structured workday doesn’t mean employees are logging in for less time overall. Increased flexibility just allows them to better accommodate their personal lives.

The Flexible Future

This flexibility is changing both the lives of workers and the world around them.

Local economies are feeling the impact with earlier happy hours and busier mid-week peak times at the golf course. Employees are also stretching out peak commute times, creating a bit of breathing room for those tired of bumper-to-bumper drives home.

Whether working remote, in-office, or some combination of the two, workers today have the power to shape their workday in a way that suits them and their life. Working 9-to-5 has become working whenever-you-like — and it seems to be better for all involved.

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