Why The 9 To 5 Model Is Redundant For Modern Start-Ups

When we were young, we all learned about how having a stable, permanent job is going to lead us to a successful life. As we grew older and adopted our dreams and perspectives of life, we now see how wrong the idea of a stable desk job is. And even if it isn’t wrong, it’s bound to wary you out sooner or later.

The more we see the people around us, the more we realize the 8-hour workday model isn’t ideal if you want to create a work-life balance. This is ironic considering this model was created for the sake of having a good work-life balance. In the era of the industrial revolution, factory workers were required to work for 15-18 hours a day, labor became more important than one’s personal life. Hence, worker unions were formed to reduce hours per day to create a more humane approach to labor. But as the world advances towards a technological revolution, meeting your work goals becomes easier without feeling the need to constantly be in the office. Here’s why we think the 9 to 5 model isn’t made for the new generation.

1. 9 to 5 Isn’t Flexible – The Future Is!

Reports show that an increasing number of employees prefer to have freedom and flexibility in the work they do to achieve maximum satisfaction and a proper work-life balance. 9-5 is a model that may have been created according to the flexibilities of past requirements but it doesn’t suit the needs of today’s world.

With the technological innovations we have today, more people are opting to create their own identities and business goals that revolve around their personal lives rather than the other way round. Compared to all of this, the 9-5 model is just a worn-out reminder of old-age working traditions that don’t fit in with the modern agenda.

2. The Freelancing Generation

Thanks to the advancements in technology, communication, and automation, it’s easier than ever to find clients and jobs without leaving the comfort of your home. Freelancing consists of flexible, usually temporary, and short-term jobs that fit perfectly with one’s social life and schedule.

Freelancing is allowing people to create their brand personality and portfolio so that potential consumers can find them with ease without the inclusion of a boss and free from the shackles of a corporate office’s strict rules. As the freelance culture grows and upgrades, the need for a 9-5 job lessens. People are more into creating their brands according to their interests rather than following the guidelines of another company.

3. All Work is Treated Equally – But Should It?

The 9-5 system tends to treat every employee on an equal basis. Every company collects the check-in and check-out timings of every one of their employees to find out whether all the workers are completing their shifts, doing overtime, or giving lesser hours than the policy requires. On this note, the companies decide which employee should be getting a promotion, a wage cut, or get laid off. But should this policy even exist?

It makes sense that having a company policy on working hours and keeping regular checks on one’s comings and goings help create boundaries and keep people in-line with having a proper office schedule, but at times the reward given for this practice is unfair. A person completing a full 8 hours of shift doesn’t mean he/she is spending this whole time working on office-related projects. And if a person leaves in 6 hours than the required 8, he/she may have done more work in those 6 than someone who may be spending 10 hours at work.

In the end, whoever does however much work, the only one profiting from that is the company. When workers know that they’re all going to get treated equally and unfairly, they don’t even try to make the effort to travel that extra mile. So even if you don’t want to give up on checking your employees’ working hours, make sure you also get a proper report of how much work each employee is contributing instead of blindly associating the work hours with their levels of productivity. And reward them according to their abilities to boost morale.

4. The Covid-19 Remodeling of Offices

Unless they have a freelancing experience or have observed someone who doesn’t work in a conventional 9-5 setting, a lot of people never considered they can work at an office without actually being in the office. That is until the Covid-19 pandemic hit and every office had to follow the mandatory lockdown guidelines to work from home. Since then, every person is more than aware of how technological advancements can ensure all the office requirements can easily be met from the comfort of one’s home without missing out on any meeting, conference, or office-related chit chat. The only thing you need is a working laptop and a stable internet connection.

Ever since the lockdown began, all the offices and even educational institutes have shifted their operations online, with the management, employees, students, and teachers collaborating by working from home. From emails to mobile phones, video conferences, online checking-in task assignment tools, and zoom meetings, all the office-based functionings are easily being performed from home and this is further giving rise to the question: is the 9-5 model all that helpful when things are being completed even without its existence?

5. The Inefficiency of 9 to 5

Studies show that the most efficiency shown by workers is when they’re required to work 30-hours a week, this slows down at 40-hours a week, and comes to a halt at 50-hours a week. I can confirm that with my own experience of working at a place where alternate Saturdays were mandatory working days. The week, when we had to attend only till Friday, was a lot more productive and motivating than the week we also had to check-in on Saturdays. Saturdays were also the days when the least amount of employees attended work, and everyone left earlier instead of completing the compulsory 9-hour shift. Not only this, but just the thought of having to attend on Saturday decreased the productivity in the entire week, compared to when one knew they’ll only have to attend 5 working days.

Furthermore, every person has different productivity schedules during the day. Some people work better in the morning, while others get a boost in performance during the afternoon and some others get the motivation to work during evening or late night hours. The 9-5 model ignores these differences in personality and requires the same amount of work at the same time and from every person.

How Work Can Be Made Better?

The points discussed above show how 9-5 isn’t the solution to make you more productive, but how do we know an alternative is going to be helpful? Freelancing isn’t as easy as it sounds. You won’t always find clients to give you the work you desire or get paid the amount you want. At times, companies only seek freelance help to use your resources but don’t follow through when it comes to paying you back. It’s a complex career choice that you can’t get a hold of unless you have a strong portfolio and several alternatives to consider if this doesn’t work.

Moreover, with the Covid-19 situation in hand, everyone who’s been working from home since the last few months knows how unnerving it could get and how one’s mental health suffers because of it. You may have all the resources you need to get the job done but the constant stay at home may have started to seem more like imprisonment than a comfort zone. You may be falling behind on your routine and failing to complete tasks when you’re supposed to. And you may also be getting lazier by the day. And you start to think, maybe the 9-5 model is a worthy policy by companies after all?

Keeping all these things in mind, we come up with the thought that maybe companies and employees can reach an agreement to modify this 9-5 model to be beneficial to both parties.

  • Some studies point out how 5-hour workdays should be the newly introduced model in the corporate world because, as they describe it, the 8-hour model is just the 5-hour model stretched to 8 hours. Working for 5 hours also motivates one to be more creative and come up with new ideas to meet their daily objectives.
  • Also, introducing tools and software that keep a check on one’s daily productivity can be a helpful boost to do more work every day. The biggest disadvantage of working from home or without supervision is that people tend to become lazier. When their productivity is monitored by a tool, employers can be updated on how much work every employee is doing daily.
  • There need to be policies about how much work is given to a single employee and until what hour of the day. This will ensure a person isn’t handed tasks just before they’re about to check-out from work or, in extreme cases, at 3 in the morning!
  • If companies introduce policies like letting people work-from-home when they can’t come to the office, more workers will gladly be part of the company’s growth process. When working from home, you can create a workspace for yourself that is similar to what you’re used to in an office environment so that you stay motivated to complete your tasks.
  • Give yourself 90-minutes each for every task and then take a break of 15-20 minutes to avoid burn-out and keep your creativity intact.
  • Schedule similar tasks together, i.e. sending multiple emails, writing a few copies, making a content calendar, etc. so that you don’t feel overwhelmed while shifting from one task to another.
  • Allot time for completing each task. If you give yourself 4 hours for a task, chances are you will take 4 or more hours for that task, even if it could have been done in less time. Allot less time to do more!

Slowly and gradually, more employers are opening up to the idea that the traditional 9-5 doesn’t work for everyone. People have different goals, paces of work, physical and mental needs and they perform their tasks according to all these needs. Giving them one specific amount of time to get everything done isn’t just jeopardizing a person’s career, it can also hinder a company’s progress.

With the constant changes in the modern world and its technologies, it’s apparent that companies need to change their outlook on how work is done. Once it’s accepted that each person can’t fit into the same category or the same routine, eventually everyone will start introducing new ways to achieve their goals and get work done. And this will bring a progressive change in how work is approached. But whatever new changes are introduced, it’s obvious that 9-5 doesn’t have a very bright future ahead.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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