The death of 9-to-5: Are flex schedules the future?

9 to 5

There was a time when 9-to-5 was the dominant model of a day’s work. Increasingly, we are seeing that change.

There was a time when 9-to-5 was the dominant model of a day’s work. Increasingly, we are seeing that change.

The 9-to-5 job may soon be a relic of the past, if workers have their way — especially those in the nation’s capital. According to new CareerBuilder research, 73 percent of workers in Washington, D.C. think the traditional 9-to-5 workday is a thing of the past. This compares to 68 percent in both Boston and Los Angeles, and 66 percent in New York.

Overall, more than 3 in 5 workers (61 percent) say the traditional 9-to-5 workday is an idea of the past, a belief held more so by those ages 45-54 (68 percent), compared to those 18-24 (45 percent), 25-34 (59 percent), 35-44 (61 percent) or 55+ (64 percent).

The workday doesn’t end when you leave the office
Nearly half of workers (48 percent) keep working off the clock – a trait more common in men (53 percent) than women (43 percent) and those ages 18-24 (52 percent) than any other age group – 25-34 (45 percent); 35-44 (48 percent); 45-54 (49 percent); 55+ (46 percent).

And it’s not just the work that doesn’t stop – communication doesn’t, either. Around half of workers (52 percent) check or respond to emails outside of work.

How to make flex work work
Have the luxury of a flexible schedule? Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, recommends these three strategies to keep in mind as you plan your work life, get your projects completed and strive for a sense of work-life balance:

  • Know the rules: Even in a flexible environment, there are rules. It could be that you’re given free rein in terms of when you arrive and when you leave, or, there may be ranges of time when your employer expects you to be in. Make sure you’re aware of what’s expected and stay within those boundaries.
  • Get into a rhythm: Others on the team will undoubtedly need to know when you’re coming or going. Maybe Mondays you’re in early and out early, and Fridays you arrive later than usual to get an early morning workout in. Make it easy for your team to know when they can drop by your desk and chat about the latest project.
  • Remember that deliverables come first: Make sure you know what you’re expected to deliver and when. Enjoying the freedom of self-scheduling works best when you assure your boss the work will get done on time and as committed.

Tweet at @CareerBuilder: Does the 9-to-5 workday still fit the bill for your company? Will it remain the default model in future, or will it slowly become obsolete?