Does anyone work 9 to 5?
It seems that all businesses should be open and available when their customers want them to be and in our global connected world, where you can buy from home at 2 in the morning and expect delivery later that day, it seems that many businesses now get this. But what has this done to the 9 to 5 worker?
Admittedly, a lot of processes are now automated but you still need actual people to do those customer facing and back office jobs. We all love the idea of flexible working, hours to suit and a 30 hour week, but in the real world your customers aren’t going to like it if you are not there when they want something. In large corporate businesses they should have enough personnel to cover this (although the ‘your call is important to us so please hold’ messages are very annoying; if it was so important wouldn’t they employ more staff so they could talk with me…) but in your SME and micro business this is a dream.
Recently published research estimates that within a few years around half of the working population in the UK will be working freelance and flexibly. The workplace does seem to be moving this way and there are many arguments for the wellbeing - and production efficiencies - associated with flexible working. But if you are always available via your smart technology then how do you step away from work, even if you are remote?
In our experience most professional and management roles are not ‘piecework’ where you can do your eight hours and then switch off. Even if you can start and finish when you want, if a customer or colleague wants something outside of that time, then you would be brave indeed to say you can’t help them.
However, most companies now have no problem with workers doing less hours one day if they have to do more another day – it is always good to feel trusted by your employee - but can you predict and schedule that?