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Office Spaced: Can't We Do Away With the 9-5 Workday, Already?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 8/10/2015 David Fagin

I have a friend who works for one of largest financial companys in the country. A few days ago, she told me about an experience she had at work; of which, the sheer nonsensicalness of it all was enough to be the catalyst for this inquiring piece on workplace hours.
Apparently, my friend, who's an executive earning six-figures at this company, was reprimanded by her boss for coming into work closer to 10:00 a.m. when everyone else is there at 9:00 a.m. He told her it "looks bad" if she shows up at different times than the rest of the staff.
What he failed to acknowledge was that, though most days she indeed shows up closer to 10 than 9, her workday routinely ends around 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. at night, while most of her co-workers are gone by 5:30. Sometimes she even works until the wee hours of the morning from home, so she sleeps in later. Meanwhile, her boss knows this but only chooses to focus on how things "look," rather than what works best for her and the company.
It's almost 2016, people. By this time next week, drones will be carrying us to work and cars will be driving themselves. Yet, everywhere you look, most of us are still racing like rats and herded sheep to get to the office by 9:00 a.m. And for what? To punch a clock?
At this very moment, it's a no-brainer to text your buddy a photo from the top of Mt. Everest, or join a conference call from your living room couch, i.e., the communication part is solved, so why do so many companies still insist their workers be walking cliches of days gone by?
Why must we still sit in cubicles all day long, miserable, exhausted, and resentful of the fact we can't leave early enough to make our son's/daughter's school play without the fear of retribution from our boss for "not being a team player"?
Can someone please explain the point of this? Is it the simple fact that most big companies hate change and are scared to death of trying something new? Or, are they too entrenched in paperwork to the point where they believe any new idea, no matter how small, requires a minimum of 4-5 board meetings and a dozen attorneys working round-the-clock for the next two years, to implement?
Whatever the reason, for everyone's sake, isn't it about time we did away with the notion that the only way to be productive as a company is to force your employees to conform to a 9-to-5 work week? Heck, even in the classic 9 to 5, a film over 35 years old, the girls knew the way to get better results was to allow people to work different schedules.
It's ridiculous to think we trust someone enough to pay them a six-figure salary but not enough to let them do their job, autonomously.
When I posed this question on my Facebook page, I was inundated with an equal amount of support and ridicule. One friend who runs a security company claimed I didn't know what I was talking about because "I never ran a business."
Maybe so, but we're constantly seeing examples of smaller companies that allow their employees more flexibility with their schedules. And it's well documented that happier employees make for more profits, so what's the issue?
If you're a CEO, you can't tell me you'd rather have an employee show up bleary-eyed at 8:45 a.m., after a 90 minute commute, needing about an hour and about ten cups of coffee just to wake up, as opposed to someone who arrives wide awake, kids off to school,happy, and ready to kick butt at 10:00 a.m., or even 11:00 a.m.?
This doesn't mean that he/she isn't able/available to work earlier if need be -- see Everest reference above -- they simply work on a schedule more suited to their abilities/needs, which, ultimately, leads to more -- not less -- productivity in 99 out of 100 cases.
Not to mention, most of us spend more than a little time at work doing personal stuff, i.e., surfing the Net, emailing friends, and conducting personal business when we're supposed to be focused on the company's business.
I'm not saying we should ultimately change the way we do things because most of us are like me and simply like to sleep late. But, keep in mind, for you dinosaurs out there who don't believe in asteroids, believe this: Millennials are overtaking Gen X'ers as the main generation in labor force. Millennials are all about short attention spans, checking their phone 150 times/day, and, if they don't like their job, or are unhappy with the "uniform," they will not hang in there for 40 years waiting for a gold Timex like dad did. They will quit.
I have friends at companies, both big and small, who have to wear suits to the office every day, even though they never come in contact with clients. Most of these companies don't even offer them Casual Friday's. Some talk about quitting every time you see them.
It's a personal attack when your employer treats you like a slave, or with a lack of respect and refuses to acknowledge your individuality. Conversely, it's incredibly rewarding to be under the employ of someone who allows you the freedom to maintain/increase your self-worth while trusting you to do the job they pay you for.
Companies both big and small are adopting new protocol all the time to try and emulate Google, Apple, Facebook, Virgin, Amazon, etc. These massive but in touch places of business make it a point to treat their employees with respect - some providing chefs on site for lunch, fitness centers, as well as laundry services, extra days vacation bonuses, etc.
Meanwhile, my poor friend, the finance executive, whose job it is to oversee one of the largest investment banks in the country, shows up for work every day and is forced to endure the ridicule put forth to her by her boss for showing up after 9 a.m. #pathetic
The interesting thing with a situation like this, is it can tell you a lot about how this guy runs his department. A person in a position of senior management of a large corporation who overreacts to minor problems and whose inflexibility/lack of objectivity prevents the adapting of new, possibly better, and easier ideas, says just as much about the way the higher-ups run the show as it does about the short-sighted boss.
Of course, not every company can afford to be Google, but there can definitely be a change within these stuffy, old, outdated HR memos. No reason why someone working for a Chase or a Price Waterhouse shouldn't be able to work from home every other Friday if it's at all possible. No reason to tell me a company shouldn't let an employee out in time to catch their kid's baseball game - or to make a 4 p.m. yoga class. Because, if they're doing their job, who cares? Who cares if they're there at 9 or at noon? Who cares if they're not there for two days in a row if their at the top of their game?
What's the harm if someone works from home a couple of days a month, as long as they remember to put on a shirt for that Skype conference call? Besides, studies show people are way more productive when they're not wearing pants.
Sadly, a good portion of these companies that are rooted in old-school principles are run by old-school rich guys. And, as long as the new money keeps rolling in to these old-school rich guys, odds are nothing will change for the proletariat.
But, in the immortal words of Bill Lumberg...
"If we can just take these old ideas and beliefs and move them down to Storage B, that would be greeaatt."
2015-10-07-1444253868-5334297-hqdefault.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-07-1444253868-5334297-hqdefault.jpg

Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business. It’s as simple as that: http://virg.in/tcob

Posted by Richard Branson on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WORKERS © Thomas Barwick via Getty Images WORKERS

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