Changing the Way We Work


7768406The Dolly Parton song and film “9 to 5” are 35 years old. If recreated today, there would undoubtedly need to be a new title.

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that, much like flip phones and fax machines, the traditional eight-hour work day may be on its way out. More than 1,000 full-time workers in information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and business services – industries that historically have more traditional work hours – participated in the nationwide study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, to discuss their habits and attitudes toward the traditional nine-to-five work day.

According to the survey, 63 percent of workers in these industries believe “working nine to five” is an outdated concept, and a significant number have a hard time leaving the office mentally. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) check work emails during activities with family and friends.

Today, many workers in these industries find themselves working outside of the traditional eight-hour time frame: 50 percent of these workers say they check or respond to work emails outside of work, and nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) say they continue to work outside of office hours.

Though staying connected to the office outside of required office hours may seem like a burden, most of these workers (62 percent) perceive it as a choice rather than an obligation.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies (yet), but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.”

But just because the office – or the blackberry – is out of sight, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out of mind: 20 percent of these workers say work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed, and more than twice as many (42 percent) say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. Nearly 1 in 5 of these workers (17 percent) say they have a tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work.

Male workers in these fields are more likely than female workers to work outside of office hours (44 percent versus 32 percent); check or respond to work emails outside of work (59 percent versus 42 percent); and check on work activities while they are out with friends and family (30 percent versus 18 percent).

Female workers, however, are more likely than male workers to go to bed thinking about work (23 percent versus 16 percent).

When it comes to working outside of traditional office hours, 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-old workers in these fields will work outside of office hours, compared to 50 percent of 45- to 54-year-old workers and 38 percent of workers ages 55 and above. Meanwhile, 52 percent of workers ages 18-24 check or respond to work emails outside of work, versus 46 percent of workers ages 55 and above.