Will the 'new era of work' mark the end of 9-to-5?

Whether it’s the en masse call for hybrid working, or an emphasis on managerial empathy, it’s no secret the working world will look vastly different post-pandemic. A new study from Adecco Group captures the insights from 8,000 office-based employees, managers and C-suite execs across the world. It forms a clear picture of the new era of work – but will it mark the end of 9-to-5?

Jasper Spanjaart on July 13, 2020 Average reading time: 3 min
Share this article:
Will the 'new era of work' mark the end of 9-to-5?

Over the past few weeks and months, a lot has been written about post-COVID-19 scenarios. In many regions all over the world, we know the pandemic has had devastating effects on our society – so much is clear. But it’s hard not to speculate about what type of effect it will truly have in the long run. 

In June, a McKinsey & Co report that COVID-19 has simply accelerated the lack of need for jobs in certain sectors. Their research team found that 50% of these jobs that were already likely to be displaced by automation in the long-run.  For sectors like wholesale and retail, manufacturing, accommodation and food services and construction – doubling up on the effects of the pandemic as well as the automation risk may simply be too much to bear. The writing was on the wall…

Kevin Wheeler found real reason to believe that COVID-19 will change the recruitment sector forever.

Meanwhile, in his June newsletter, Kevin Wheeler – one of the smartest recruitment-related brains – found real reason to believe that COVID-19 will change the recruitment sector forever. These thoughts were echoed in a white paper by data-specialist Intelligence Group and HR-specialist HRlinkIT: ‘COVID-19 crisis as catalyst for innovation’. Meanwhile, some research even shows that companies have been able to build up strategies to allow their workforce to perform even better than it did before the corona crisis. 

Hybrid working: the new normal?

While most reports are able to draw similar conclusions, however companies do decide to act — it’s clear normal won’t be the normal we knew. A new report from Adecco Group is able to confirm some of the things we already knew. As Bill Boorman put it as early as March: “`If we can work from home, why should we go back?”, we now know what the world is truly ready for hybrid working as part of a long-term strategy.

Adecco Group is able to conclude that 8 in 10 C-level/execs believe that businesses will benefit from increased flexibility.

As with everything – over the past few months, some of you will have been able to go through your daily tasks better – and generally just more efficiently. Adecco Group is able to conclude that 8 in 10 C-level/execs believe that businesses will benefit from increased flexibility. That flexibility, in essence, is based around more hybrid workers within their organisations. According to Adecco Group, the ideal mix for this would be 51/49%. “51% in the office, 49% remote is the optimal model.”

The end of 9-to-5?

With hybrid working seemingly ranking high for both employees and employers, 9-to-5 seems like a bad fit for that model. Adecco Group’s study shows that 69% of employees believe contracts should be based on results rather than hours worked. “Tracking results, not hours, emerges as a more effective way to measure productivity”, the report says. 

It seems to be a no-brainer: COVID-19 will bring the 9-to-5 mentality to a swift and timely death.

Perhaps even more importantly, employees and employees seem aligned in their wishes. The report states that 75% of employees say it is important to maintain flexibility in their work schedules, while 74% of executives believe it’s important to revisit the length of the working week. It seems to be a no-brainer: COVID-19 will bring the 9-to-5 mentality to a swift and timely death. Sorry, Dolly Parton, it may be time for an updated version… 

More trust and empathy 

During these trying times, employees everywhere were dealt a difficult hand. Parents were faced with the difficult roles of a full-time geography teacher, before having to complete a full working day. Heck, the only thing they really needed from their employers during these times was some empathy and maybe an alcoholic care package or two. 

The only thing employees really needed from their employers was some empathy and maybe an alcoholic care package or two.

Adecco Group’s report shows that 74% of employees wanted their managers “to demonstrate a leadership style focussed on empathy and a supportive attitude.” For most scenarios, that seemed to be management style they did in fact receive. A staggering 88% say managers met or exceeded their expectations during COVID-19. 

While everyone will be searching for what their new normal will end up looking like, it is moving forward to a system built on mutual trust and empathy.

They’ve got the trust of their employees: 80% of employees believe their employer is the most responsible for ensuring a better working world after the pandemic. So now it will largely be up to companies to continue that trend. While everyone will be searching for what their new normal will end up looking like, it is moving forward to a system built on mutual trust and empathy. It won’t however, be built on the ancient principles on 9-to-5.

Share this article:
Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

Premium partners View all partners

Read twice a month the newsletter about total talent acquisition.

  • I can unsubscribe at any time.