Can We Move Past the 9-5 Work Culture?

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Can We Move Past the 9-5 Work Culture?

“Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest”. These are the famous words of British factory owner Robert Owen who in 1817 began a 40-hour work week.

These words were revolutionary in the 1800’s, yet here we are in the 2018, and still working to hours that were set for factory labourers.

At present, we are conforming to what has been done in the past; but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do things. As author Douglas Coupland has said, “I think one day we’re doing to look back at 9 to 5 and we’re going to think about it in the way we currently do about child labour in the 19th century.”

Your employee’s may be sat in your office, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are working to their full potential, or feeling well about the way they are working. The ‘presence based work’ we have become accustomed to across the UK, is an archaic mindset that has us believe that if we are not in an office for eight hours, we cannot possible be doing our best work. But do we need exactly 8 hours to accomplish work?

In many instances we are compelled to fill our time rather than be the most productive with it.

Graphic showing a company culture statistic. 87% of employees have considered changing jobs because their current employer does not offer flexible working.

The avoidance of finding a flexible working approach in any organisation, is not because flexible working doesn’t work for all industries; it’s because leaders are not passionate enough about finding a solution that works for their people and their business.

Instead, it falls to employees to be the martyrs and push for even a fraction of flexibility, or do the last resort option and find a new organisation that is more forward-thinking.

“We must learn to speak-up about important events in our lives, and stop pretending that work will always trump all other circumstances.” – Frederic Laloux

If organisations truly believe that 9-5 is the only option, they are at risk of losing themselves to an agile future, where their company will be obsolete. It’s an adapt or die situation, that cannot be avoided.

In The Employee Reality survey I conducted, it was found that 87% of employees have considered changing jobs because their current employer does not offer flexible working. The ability to be able to combine both work and life simultaneously, is no longer a ‘work-perk’, but an obligatory right that everyone should be able to embrace.

Read and download the flexible working whitepaper here.


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.