Is it Right to Ditch the 9 – to – 5?
It is clear that working from home is set to stay for some time yet, possible becoming a permanent feature of the working environment.
Just a decade ago the very idea of moving to flexible working patterns, alternate days in the office and dare we even suggest it, a four-day working week, would have seemed both unrealistic and let us face it, unacceptable.
The argument of moving away from the traditional ‘nine to five’ is gathering speed, driven to a large extent by the fallout from the response to Covid-19 and our solution to lockdown by working from home.
Also, little wonder when you consider the benefits for employees too. Working from home frees up that unnecessary commute time at the beginning and end of the day. That translates into more “work time” or indeed the opportunity to enjoy a better work-life balance.
Even as the return to work gathers momentum, encouraged by both government and businesses anxious to embrace the “new normal” – the very nature of the workplace will change for many thousands of people.
Everything about the structure of working – getting up, getting dressed, the travel time, the building you go to and where you sit in the office, sharing ideas and socialising is all beginning to change. Ignoring this and assuming people will get the same employee experience at home could prove to be a big mistake.
Whilst there will also be talk around productivity and levels of efficiency being enhanced and improved by this change in workstyle, we also have a duty of care for all our employees, particularly surrounding health and well-being and the overall impact of working in isolation.
However, given the long term implications of the virus and the fears about a potential “second wave” with a new lockdown scenario, we may well have to prepare ourselves for the reality of the new normal lying well outside the parameters of the regular nine to five working day.