Is the 9 to 5 Workday Over? How Nations and Businesses can prepare for what’s next?


How the Industrial Revolution Birthed the 9 to 5 Workday and Why it is Changing Now

One of the consequences of the First Industrial Revolution and the concomitant emergence of manufacturing firms was the 9 to 5 Workday or the slotting of workdays into 8 Hour capsules with the associated Five Day Week.

Indeed, as the Industrial Revolution led the way to the rise of Assembly Line plants, laws were passed codifying the 8 Hour Shifts that workers needed to work and societies in general adjusted to this practice by orienting themselves to this paradigm.

For instance, public transport ran in a way that workers and professionals could reach offices in time and at the end of the day, return to their homes in time for Dinner.

So, basically, a whole infrastructure was built around the 9 to 5 Workday with associated supporting institutions and provisions.

However, as the Services sector started to emerge in the 1970s and the 1980s, world over, Software and Financial Services firms began to experiment with longer hours (though unofficially) as the laws mandated 8 hour workdays and in the 1990s and the 2000s, such frameworks began to change with most professionals working 10 hours.

How the Pandemic is the Death Knell for the 9 to 5 Workday Models

While the 9 to 5 workday was slowly slouching off into oblivion in most Service Sector firms, nations and societies still were operating in the old model with the result that periodically, there were noises about how hard most professionals were being made to work and how this was causing stress and burnout.

An often overlooked aspect of this was that Work from Home arrangements and Weekend working put paid to the traditional notions of the 9 to 5 workday as modern telecommunications and technologies made it easier for professionals to be available 24/7 and to be On Call all the time.

While workers in manufacturing firms still adhered to the 9 to 5 routine, this model was fast disappearing as even Managers and White Collar professionals in these plants began to work for extended hours.

With the emergence of the Covid 19 Pandemic and the consequent shift to Virtual Workplaces, the 9 to 5 Workday is an Anachronism so much so that anyone who works in such a model is now considered as an Ostrich or a Dodo caught in a Time Warp. Indeed, it can be said that this is Death Knell of the 9 to 5 Workday.

Why Laws, Infrastructure, Governance, and Children Must Prepare for What’s Next

So, what comes next and how to prepare for it? To start with, Borderless nations in an increasingly interconnected world need new laws making easier to transact and interact virtually.

Even manufacturing firms in many countries now operate 10 hour shifts with the recently passed amendments to the Labour Laws in India approving of such timings.

Moreover, the restrictions around women being prohibited from Night Shifts are also being done away with. In addition, the BPOs or the Business Process Outsourcing Firms anyway operate round the clock that is aided by laws that were specifically passed for this purpose.

Therefore, it is our view that groundwork has been done for the Shift away from the 9 to 5 Model and all it needs is some more adjustments to the supporting infrastructure.

This includes public transport round the clock, policing and governmental stakeholders being available at all times, and availability of food and other necessities throughout the day and night.

Apart from this, we need to prepare the future citizens to orient themselves to the New Realities of the Extended Workday Model to ensure that they are physically and mentally prepared for the changes that are on the horizon in future.

Some Perils of Rapidly Transitioning to the New Paradigm and Need for Circumspection

Having said that, there is a need to be a bit circumspect about doing away with the 9 to 5 Workday and transitioning to a 24/7 paradigm.

For instance, our Bio Rhythms are geared towards working during the day in addition to our sleep patterns and cycles being tuned to nightly rest.

Therefore, there can be health complications if we rapidly move towards a 24/7 working model.

In addition, we, as a nation and even worldwide are biologically, mentally, and physiologically conditioned to work during the day and any shift to alternatives must be done in a gradual and phased manner.

Of course, when WFH (Work from Home) is the New Normal, then such adjustments need not be extensively planned and phased. Already most White Collar professionals are now well into the New Model of Working.

Therefore, it is the Blue Collar workers who are the most impacted by this shift. Indeed, this is the reason why many Left parties are protesting against the 10 hour workdays in India as they feel that this is yet another attempt to short change the workers.

It is our view that adequate compensation be provided to workers to transition to the new paradigm.

Fourth Industrial Revolution and Digital Age

Last, as the world is in the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is but natural that this transformation would have effects on all aspects of our lives.

One of the consequences of the Digital Age is the End of the 9 to 5 Workday and hence, nations and businesses must be prepared to accept change and not resist it.

In a manner similar to how the Industrial Revolution birthed the Modern World, the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution is similarly spawning a New Post Modern world in its wake.

Therefore, we must prepare for what comes next in future.


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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


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