The 9 to 5 workweek has served its purpose but in a world where we can catch up on all of our email before we ever get out of bed, it can get a little hard justifying large offices and mandatory schedules that require employees to be parked in front of their computer eight hours every day “just because.” Forcing your staff to work a set schedule with no flexibility is so 20th Century (in all the bad ways). With that said, here are the main reasons why we believe the 9 to 5 workweek needs to go.
One: It Stifles Creativity.
The problem with expecting creative solutions from your staff on a set schedule is that it almost never happens. Thinking you can schedule it is about like hammering that square peg into the round hole. Will good ideas come during the 9 to 5 workweek? Yes. But it’s more likely they’ll just “show up” and that the moment of inspiration occurred on the employee’s circadian rhythm, and not that of the business.
Two: It Encourages Employees To Treat Their Work As A Job Instead Of A Career.
Routines are good. We all need them to be at our most productive. But the idea that you can train each and every person on staff to fall in line with the same routine when we’re all unique individuals with our own way of doing things, is naive. As a result, you end up encouraging your employees to think about work as a job they have to “show up for” rather than a place where they can actually make a difference. If you want your talent to turn off their brains at 5 p.m., and only work hard enough not to get fired, the 9 to 5 workweek is a good way to do it.
Three: It Creates A Cookie Cutter Employee.
By rigidly adhering to the 9 to 5 workweek, you end up creating a cookie cutter employee rather than someone who has their own unique skills and talents. If you want the job to be something that anyone can do, then it’s not very likely you’ll distinguish your business or department from the pack. Each employee has a distinct knowledge base and set of abilities, but chaining that uniqueness to a desk from 9 to 5 each day is a good way to beat it out of them.
The 9 to 5 workweek has to go for the good of your business. That doesn’t mean you neglect and discourage routine — to the contrary! It means that you exercise more flexibility in helping your talent find the right routines for them. By meeting your talent where they are, you stand a much better chance in getting the very best of them. Maybe that means there’s a set check-in time each day and more freedom to work from home. Maybe it means overlapping shifts. To make flexibility work, you’ll have to navigate around the needs of your business, but that’s one journey worth making.