2 min read

Is the 9-to-5 is dead?

Reshaping the structure of the workweek is trending but does it benefit employees? Yes and no.
Is the 9-to-5 is dead?
Photo by Avi Richards / Unsplash

The 9-to-5 workday is dead. That is the message from Salesforce as they move to a much more flexible workday.

The idea is that their employees will be able to work when it’s convenient in their life. Parents will have the ability to do drop off and pick up. If it’s a nice day, take some time for a long bike ride or walk.

Sounds great, right?

I love the notion of the 9-to-5 being dead just like I love the notion of unlimited time off. But the reality is that when we’re left to self-regulate, most of us can’t. We’ll keep working.

Unlimited PTO is a hot benefit, especially in the competitive tech sector. When it was first introduced, critics said people will never work. But as a study by Namely shows, employees with unlimited vacation actually took fewer days off (13) than those with a fixed number (15).

With workday flexibility, critics will say the same thing. But similar results seem likely: People will actually work more.

Why?

Emails and slacks will start flying in at all hours of the day (more than they do now) and you’ll feel the pull to respond. Most employees today are fighting for the ability to log-off and this work-when-you-want notion leaves the door wide open for the implicit expectation that you are to be logged on constantly.

I hope Salesforce (and other organizations to follow suit) won’t just introduce this in a flash in the pan sort of way. It will take a lot of training to build new culture habits, give employees the tools to build strong boundaries around work, and likely some policy additions from HR and IT teams to block employees from overworking.

Otherwise, this is only a great recruiting pitch when in reality we’re only accelerating our deep burnout epidemic.


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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