The pandemic fundamentally altered the world of work. Many companies had little choice but to provide employees with flexibility, ensuring households could maintain proper balance during an unprecedented time. In some cases, this meant allowing workers to deviate from a traditional 9-5-style workday, ensuring they could remain productive while handling various needs.
While much of the urgency that initiated these changes is long gone, companies are continuing to experiment with non-traditional work hours. Some allow substantial amounts of flexibility long-term, while others provide a bit of wiggle room while maintaining certain restrictions.
In the end, many organizations wonder if the pandemic will ultimately make the 9-5 workday a thing of the past. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of restructuring workdays and whether a typical 9-5 will ultimately become a thing of the past.
The Benefits of a Non-Traditional Workday
Allowing employees to work schedules outside of a classic 9-5 does provide benefits. Often, it makes maintaining work-life balance simpler. As a result, workers are usually happier overall, leading to rises in productivity.
Additionally, the ability to adjust work schedules allows employees to handle intense tasks at times of the day when they feel the most focused and productive. Not all workers flourish in a traditional 9-5 framework. Some do their best work around sunrise. Others thrive long after the sun sets. By offering flexibility, professionals can adjust when they handle their responsibilities, leading to higher quality outputs and boosted productivity.
Finally, alternative schedules can ease recruitment and retention woes. The pandemic opened professionals’ eyes to different ways of living, approaches that didn’t involve a 9-5 framework. Many discovered that they thrived when given flexibility. As a result, they favor employers who offer it, causing them to seek out opportunities with companies that can support that need.
The Drawbacks of a Non-Traditional Workday
While non-traditional workday schedules do have benefits, there are also drawbacks. Collaboration can be trickier when employees aren’t all working during the same hours, potentially slowing down projects or hindering problem-solving and innovation. Similarly, it may also become harder to forge meaningful connections with colleagues simply because they aren’t engaging with each other in real-time as often.
In some cases, non-traditional schedules also harm the customer experience. If customers expect availability during specific hours and it isn’t provided, that may lead to dissatisfaction, damaging the company’s reputation.
It is important to note that many of these issues are avoidable even if companies allow flexible schedules. For example, having required “core hours” ensures employees are available simultaneously during short time windows. That approach can resolve issues with collaboration, bonding, and customer service, potentially making a non-traditional workday more viable.
Will the 9-5 Workday Become a Thing of the Past?
Ultimately, there are benefits and drawbacks of using a non-traditional schedule. While some companies may feel the pros outweigh any cons, other businesses may take the opposing position. Flexibility may legitimately not be an option in some situations, particularly in certain public-facing roles where customers or visitors have specific expectations.
Since that’s the case, traditional schedules likely won’t disappear any time soon. However, companies will likely continue offering more flexibility than in years past if the role supports it. In fact, doing so could be a wise move, ensuring companies can connect with top talent who value non-traditional work schedules.
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