Is 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, Still the Right Hours for Your Business?

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Is 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, Still the Right Hours for Your Business?

Eight hours a day (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM). Five days a week (Monday through Friday). That’s been the prevailing definition of the traditional business work week for as long as most people can remember. It’s been accepted as the professional norm for decades upon decades, rarely if ever challenged or even questioned. The assumption has been that those are the hours in which “work” is and should be performed.

There’s little doubt, though, that the landscape of business is changing - and changing drastically. Employers are noticing more frequently that the old, established way of managing employee schedules isn’t as simplistic as it used to be. In recent years, the world at large has undergone tremendous changes on the technology and human resources fronts. The workplace is different. Employee expectations are different. So why should the workday itself remain unchanged? Indeed, it’s time to reevaluate the standards for an appropriate workday; one that better suits the goals of both employer and employees.

As a small business, your company may have the flexibility to fine tune your work schedule to more realistically serve your productivity and profit goals as well as the needs of your employees. There are several ways flexibility in work hours could be implemented. Perhaps an option to work four 10-hour days could be instated. Offering flex time throughout the week (including weekends and early, late or overnight hours) could also enable employees to work at times when the need is present or when it benefits their personal situation. Even a half day on Friday option could result in a meaningful change to the rigors of that daily nine-to-five rut.

Is changing up the eight-hour/five-day recipe feasible for your business? As long as much of what you do is independent of other businesses or institutions with rigid, traditional hours, there should be opportunities for you to loosen up your workers’ schedules. Think long and hard about the rationale for remaining tethered to this traditional view of “working hours.” If you can’t come up with a strong case for keeping with the status quo, consider making some changes with an eye toward your bottom line and employee preferences.

Certainly, before you think about such a potentially radical change in the way you manage your workflow and scheduling, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Discover the benefits for both you and for your employees to ensure that changes are made not just for the sake of shaking things up, but really present positive opportunities for all concerned.

A few of the potential benefits to reevaluating the concept of “work hours” for your business and its employees include:

Changing up the eight-hours/5 days a week routine: What’s (potentially) in it for employers?

More complete service to customers - When you expand your hours of operation outside of standard hours, you can provide a wider degree service. Being available at hours that will accommodate customers in other time zones, or at other-than-prime hours of the day will give your business an edge. This flexibility is becoming more mainstream every day, so you’ll want to consider providing it for your customers.

Greater employee productivity - When it comes to your employees, your willingness to change up working hours and/or schedules could lead to greater productivity. Employees who feel comfortable with their schedule are more likely to feel fresh, energized and enthusiastic on the job. Those attributes can lead to greater productivity. Some employees are more productive early in the day while other hit their stride later on. Matching employees’ working hours to their energy peak will also help them to be more effective at work.

The routine of setting up for or digging into a project, multiple times per week may be distracting or time-wasting for employees. If, by working fewer, longer days, that ramping up time was eliminated, the time employees actually put in would be more productively spent.

More highly-satisfied employees - When employees know that you are willing to evaluate the conditions under which they work, including the number and distribution of their hours, they will appreciate that their satisfaction is important to you. Satisfied employees are far more likely to remain in your employ. Work time flexibility is also an attractive perk for potential hirees.

Changing up the eight-hours/5 days a week routine: What’s (potentially) in it for employees?

Flexibility to improve work/life balance - Workers today are searching for ways to integrate their personal and professional lives more effectively. When employees are afforded some flexibility as to when and how long they work on certain days, it becomes easier for them to mesh their priorities and not have to choose one over the other.

Convenience - For some employees, commuting to work accounts for a significant part of their day. Only having to commit to, say, four days of commuting rather than five, could prove quite enticing, if not life-changing.

Healthier, happier employees - Employees whose work is based less on rigid schedules and focus more on effectiveness feel less on-the-job stress. They tend to be more content, stable and healthier individuals. For those seeking a balanced lifestyle for themselves, this is a tremendous benefit.

Clearly, every industry - every individual business - is unique and will have its own benefits as well as challenges associated with changing up the eight hours/five days routine. It is worth considering, however, because it will make your business more agile and competitive in the modern workplace.

Has your business confronted the “normal business hours” issue?

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