The end of traditional office hours soon?

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    A few decades ago, Dolly Parton sang the virtues of classic office hours on “9 to 5.” But those days seem to be over. According to an American survey, many employees consider that these hours no longer correspond to their work rhythm.

    Specifically, 57% of Americans surveyed in a Financial Technology Association survey* believe that traditional office hours do not suit them. This is because more and more workers work atypical hours, either during the week in the afternoons or also on weekends.

    The explosion in the use of teleworking, as well as the intensification of the pace of work, has a lot to do with this. Employees increasingly complain that their workload does not allow them to carry out the professional tasks assigned to them during office hours, fueling a feeling of permanent pressure and cognitive overload.

    The phenomenon is such that 51% of those surveyed declare that the lack of flexibility in work schedules is no longer adapted to the current times. They would like to have more flexibility in their work and meeting schedules to find a better balance between their personal and professional obligations. That’s why they tend to show great interest in different working time arrangements, including the four-day week and asynchronous work.

    Soon the era of “chronowork”?

    Employers would do well to take more into account their employees’ time preferences to help them improve productivity. Because employees are not efficient at the same time of day, some are more “morning people” than others. Early risers are generally most efficient at the beginning of the day, but their performance declines as time passes. On the contrary, “evening people” often have difficulty getting up to go to the office or start the day by teleworking. At night they are in very good shape, which in theory makes them unsuitable for standard professional life.

    In any case, this is what Finnish researchers say in a study, published in 2021 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. They found that night workers perform half as poorly at work as their morning counterparts. And this, regardless of your gender, your usual sleep schedule or even your work day.

    Voices are being raised for those working in the world of work to reconsider organizational methods in relation to flexibility and, in general, quality of life. “Chronowork” is one of them. This acronym, resulting from the contraction of “time” (“chrono” in Latin) and “work” (“working” in English), designates a practice that consists of adapting employees’ work rhythms to each one’s biological clock. . Enough to make traditional office hours even more obsolete.

    *This survey was conducted by OnePoll, on behalf of the Financial Technology Association, among 2,000 US employees. Data was collected online between February 23 and February 29, 2024.

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