The way we do work is likely to change for many of us in a post-COVID-19 world. Because of public health concerns, with so many employees across the globe granted the ability to work from home amid the pandemic, recent research has shown it seems some type of hybrid work style will be the norm moving forward. With that said, many are left questioning what will happen to the traditional old school 9 to 5 work routine? Is it a thing of the past? Read on as we discuss the future trends moving forward and tackle whether or not the regular schedule so many workers have grown accustomed to over the years is gone for good.

Smartway2 enables organizations to take a data-driven approach to change by providing insights into how spaces, desks and other facilities are being used. To find out more request a demo with one of our experts.


Breaking the Mold – A real-life example

business hours

A recent article in Inc., a business media company, the article takes a look at the Dallas-based tax firm Ryan. The president of Ryan’s global shared services, Delta Emerson, is quoted in the article saying, “We literally ranked people by hours…Even if someone worked 24 hours the day before, they still had to book at least eight hours Monday through Friday.” The firm made a shift towards results instead of time and has seen improved phenomenal results. Threat article goes on to say, “Some staffers work as little as 20 hours a week; some start at 7 a.m., others at 10 a.m.; some commute to the office only twice a week. Since the 2008 shift, revenue has grown 15 percent year over year, customer satisfaction is higher than ever before, and turnover has plummeted.”

There were a few noteworthy statistics shared in the article that reinforce the concept of flexible work schedules: That article continues onward to share the following, somewhat shocking statistics…

  • 29% of college students think being able to work remotely with a flexible schedule is a right, not a privilege.
  • 66 % of Millennials say having a boss who doesn’t support flexible schedules has factored into their decision to leave a job. And,
  • 72% of working parents say that people who work flex hours have fewer pay/promotional opportunities.

The Numbers

flexible working
A recent article in Fortune by analytics editor Lance Lambert breaks down some current statistics that provide helpful context for what people want in terms of work flexibility moving forward. The data comes from Future Forum, a consortium backed by Slack, which surveyed more than 8,500 knowledge workers or skilled office workers from around the globe. Below is a look at some key findings:
  • 63% of knowledge workers prefer a hybrid model. Another 20% prefer fully remote, and 17% want to always work from the office.
  • 38% of remote knowledge workers say their stress is lower while working remotely; 20% say it’s worse. 
  • 45% of workers say their work-life balance is better while working remotely; 19% say it’s worse. 
  • 39% of remote workers say they’re working more hours every day, compared to 31% of office-based workers who agree with that statement. 
  • 32% of knowledge workers feel burned out.
Based on this Future Forum research, Lambert’s conclusion and takeaway were, “Workers are clear: They favour a hybrid workplace. Among knowledge workers, nearly 2 in 3 prefer a future where they split time between working in and outside of the office. While workers are hungry to continue to incorporate remote into their work lives, only 1 in 5 want to be fully remote. Why? Well, for starters remote workers report working more overall hours than their in-office peers. Simply put, it’s hard to turn off the job when your home is the office.”
Future Forum’s data is not an outlier. A lot of research has been done on the topic of the future workplace post-pandemic, including one Smartway2’s  Returning to Work, which found similar results. Workers want flexibility and independence, and that means a combination of in-person and remote work.

The Challenge of Flexibility/ Remote Work

The ability to work remotely permanently or as part of a hybrid model might sound like an ideal situation. However, those who have been working remotely amid this pandemic are all too aware there are some pitfalls that must be overcome in order to succeed working remotely. 
It’s important to consider the challenges that arise from remote work – and how to address those challenges – to ensure that when your employees are working remotely, there is a smooth transition that enables them to remain productive and efficient.
Writing for Insider Magazine, a financial and business news website, contributor Natalia Lusinski put together a list of 9 common challenges that people face with remote work. Lusinski’s list, which includes insight from industry experts, provides a good sense of the common issues that can arise:
  • Problems with technology may not get resolved as quickly as they would in the office, and can make it difficult to work remotely.
  • It’s easy to get distracted when you’re working from home, and you may not be as productive as you’d be in a traditional work setting.
  • And the distractions get even worse if you’re not good at following a strict schedule.
  • With no coworkers in your living room, socializing with your peers can be a challenge and make remote work pretty lonely.
  • A lack of interaction with coworkers can also make team-building difficult.
  • Working remotely can mean inconsistent pay.
  • Communication with coworkers or clients can easily be misconstrued.
  • Feeling that other people don’t really think you are working can be frustrating.
  • And it may be hard to find a healthy work-life balance.

Work/Life Balance

work life balance
One of the biggest drawbacks to remote work is the final item on the list of challenges compiled by Lusinski, work/life balance. Many people who have been working from home for the first time over the past year because of the pandemic, feel they are constantly on the clock and are struggling to find a balance between work and home life. It’s important to strike that balance, especially as much the workforce moves forward with a hybrid work style.
We have written an entire post on maintaining a proper work-life balance amid the drastically changing work landscape. You can click here to review our research, tips and findings. In the meantime, one helpful piece of advice mentioned in our blog post is from Aisle Planner, a software company for events professionals. Aisle Planner put together 8 useful tips for finding work-life balance:
  • Define your balance
  • Take care of yourself
  • Start an hour earlier
  • Set boundaries
  • Limit evening work
  • Schedule time off
  • Ask for help
  • Create a plan

Reasons to Abandon the 9 to 5

office clock
If you are looking for further evidence to transition away from the 9 to 5 schedule, we’ve done some research and compiled 9 data points:  Numbers 1-3 come from Jostle, a cloud-based intranet software company. 
  • Top performers are increasingly demanding more flexibility.
  • People don’t work the way they used to.
  • People work best when they work under their own conditions.
Numbers 4-6 comes from the career marketplace Cleverism.
  • Demand for a work-life balance
  • Rise of the gig economy
  • Financial incentives
Numbers 7-9 our list comes from, a site that provides tips to help improve all aspects of your life.
  • Humans aren’t machines
  • Flexibility increases productivity
  • Flexibility enhances focus

Smartway2 is a workplace experience that boosts productivity, collaboration and space utilization, by enabling employees to book everything they need to do their best work, from conference rooms and desks to parking, AV equipment or a catered lunch.