HammerOne of the most significant changes to the corporate environment since the industrial revolution is the somewhat irresistible move towards flexible working. There is increasing pressure from both employees and innovative employers to blow the restrictive Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5, year-round work regime completely out of the water. If you are still wedded to a 9-to-5 dogma in your business, it’s time to take stock of what’s happening around you.

Employers Are Embracing Flexible Work Time

For example, the recent Oxford Economics and SAP Workforce 2020 report surveyed 2,700 executives from over 2000 companies around the world and found that 83 percent of employers are increasingly using consultants, intermittent employees, part-time employees, and contingent workers.

We have recently seen some more dramatic shifts towards flexible workers as companies like Virgin begin to follow innovators like Netflix, who have introduced unlimited vacation policies in their businesses. This is a massive transformational step that could change the entire nature of the working relationship.

Employees Love Flexible Working Time, Too

Employees are increasingly looking to work for flexible hours and/or flexible locations. Studies show that the majority of the millennial generation, who will make up 50 percent of the workforce by 2020, would like to work in a self-determining, self-employed capacity. The modern workforce very much desires a flexible working regime that allows them to operate well outside of the 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday schedule in order to develop a healthy and positive work-life balance. We are not in the era of Dickensian workhouses anymore: people are beginning to see work-life balance as a basic human right, and flexible working is a key way to achieve this.

The world is moving forward. If you don’t keep up, new candidates and current employers will start viewing your business as a bit of a dinosaur, and top talent may no longer want to work for you.

By failing to look well beyond a restrictive 9-to-5 routine, businesses are not only alienating current employees and deterring candidates, but they are also beginning to fall behind their competitors in terms of innovative HR practice.

It seems that employers — and, crucially, customers — want to be able to operate way outside of the 9-to-5 regime schedule. Many employee handbooks have a 9-to-5 contract, but I would question how many staff actually work to these hours or want to work such a rigid routine.

It seems, then, that 9-to-5 work regimes are counter to what most of the key stakeholders in the business world actually want, and I think the time is right for employers to begin deploying highly tailored, flexible working regimes as the norm — if they want to remain relevant and maximize employee and candidate engagement and customer satisfaction.

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