How Technology is Revolutionizing the Post-Pandemic Working Hours Remotely
Updated on Aug 19th, 2021
Working hours and work weeks have always been relatively unchanged for centuries. It is an artificial construct that has persisted since the early 20th century, even though people have long argued that individuals should be given more control over their work hours.
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted employees to rethink work hours since they could now work remotely and plan their day based on their schedule. As a result of the pandemic, the traditional 9-5 schedule could be disrupted forever.
By working remotely, employees would no longer have to share a physical office space, which brings a whole host of benefits. Remote work has been known to enhance productivity and morale. Additionally, employees can tailor their schedules based on their preferences. An organization can hire the best candidate for a given position regardless of geographic location with remote work.
Recent research data from Deloitte shows that millennials are shaping the way they think about work in four crucial ways:
- They want to have more control over their career.
- They want to make a difference in their work.
- They want to achieve better work-life balance and improve their overall quality of life.
Impact of the Pandemic on the Working Hours
The pandemic is calling into question the long-held views about the tradition of the five-day, 40-hour week.
The pandemic gave employees a glimpse of remote working, and many of them were immediately drawn to the flexibility it provides. When the world faced the dangers of the pandemic, remote workers were much safer than their office counterparts. Moreover, employees saved many hours each week on commutes and unnecessary business travel.
However, the most significant impact of COVID-19 on the workforce is the dramatic rise in work hours. According to a survey, nearly 36% of employees have worked longer hours during the pandemic.
While COVID-19 has been a boon to employees working from home, many were unable to adapt to the new working model. Remote leaders scheduled many meetings, which caused employees to work long hours and then finally burn out.
Furthermore, as people are connected, it has become much easier for companies to request work outside of normal work hours. Due to this, less time is available for anything other than work, which can be detrimental to personal lives and work performance.
To adapt to the future of work, businesses need to follow best practices like encouraging async communication, cutting down on meeting hours, and implementing other initiatives that are better suited to increase the productivity and mental health of remote workers.
Influence of technology on working hours
Thanks to technological advances and the expansion of internet connectivity over the past few decades, employee productivity has increased exponentially. Modern remote workers have access to innovative tools such as Slack, Basecamp, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams for collaborating with team members. By using these tools, a remote worker can immediately connect with anyone in the world, saving the time required for physical meetings. As a result of not having to commute, remote workers can save hundreds of hours. That extra time can be used elsewhere for hobbies and other personal pursuits of employees.
But it is important to keep in mind that technology can often be a double-edged sword. It brings us great opportunities but also significant risks. Cybersecurity threats have multiplied as companies constantly battle hacking, data theft, and privacy concerns in recent years.
Also, remote workers can become distracted due to the newfound freedom and flexibility. While surfing the web, many fall victim to internet holes and waste countless hours in the middle of a workweek. Additionally, social media also results in productivity losses as people are distracted by constant notifications.
With such a heavy dependency on technology, it is no wonder why people are seeking new ways to manage their work hours. People make sure they are not wasting time on non-work-related activities, whether setting timers and ad blockers or disabling social media.
Flexible Work Hours are the Norm Post-Pandemic
Nowadays, employees are more willing than ever to trade in a traditional 9-5 office environment for flexibility and remote work. 81% of employees said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options, according to a 2020 survey.
Offering flexible work arrangements, however, can mean a paradigm shift for smaller businesses. It may be difficult for certain types of businesses, such as physical stores, to take full advantage of flexible work arrangements since they lack the technology, management, and roles required.
The 4 day Workweek and Compressed Workweek
While the idea of a four-day working has been around for decades, it has only recently gained traction.
For one, it would be advantageous to those who need to care for their children or elderly parents. Studies have shown that the average worker spends about 12 hours a week, or one full day, caring for family members.
With the four-day work week, it would be possible for these individuals to spend more time caring for their loved ones. According to a survey, 30% of remote workers are caregivers, and more than one-third of those said being able to work remotely is their primary reason for working remotely.
There are many benefits to working a shorter workweek, such as increased productivity and happiness. Not to mention, many people feel like they need more time to pursue hobbies and other passions outside of their jobs. In recent times, companies and even entire countries like Japan have trialed the four-day workweek and found tremendous work-life balance and mental health increases.
A crowdfunding company called Kickstarter adopted remote working during the onset of the pandemic. As a loyalty reward for staying with the company, it now offers its employees a four-day workweek as part of a pilot study. It plans to allow its employees to clock eight fewer hours over four days without affecting their pay.
Apart from the four-day work week, companies are also considering compressed workweeks. This allows employees to work a standard workweek of 40 hours over fewer than five days in a week or at most ten days in two weeks.
For example, companies can implement a four-day workweek of 10-hour days. Using this method, companies get the same number of working hours, but employees have a three-day weekend every week.
Employees want a work-life balance, and they want to have time for their family or whatever else they do outside of work without feeling guilty about it. Unless companies offer flexibility to their employees, they might not attract the best talent in a globalized world. That aligns with the changing demands of the workforce in a hot job market.
By offering remote work options, flexible work hours, shortened work weeks, and other initiatives, companies would enhance employee happiness and retain talent post-pandemic.
With these options, many people will be able to achieve a better work-life balance. In the coming years, this trend will accelerate as companies recognize the benefit of attracting and retaining talented workers in this way.
Shahul Rashik is a community lead at Remote Tools and Remote Clan. He is particularly passionate and writes about technology, startups and the future of work.
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