Is the No-Hour Workweek the Future of Business?

Working without structured office hours

Most people who have full-time jobs are used to working at least a 9 to 5 schedule; however, given the competitive and demanding nature of the job market, many employees find themselves working overtime, and having little time for their personal life and families. Is this structure becoming outdated? Technology has helped businesses everywhere establish new work schedules for their employees, by allowing them to create their own work hours and work remotely. Not only do new work structures give employees more freedom in terms of their schedule, but it can also create a healthier work environment.

Studies have shown that highly stressful work environments can lead to insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders, explosive tempers, and other health problems. These toxic working habits are clearly not sustainable for the individual or the company. Also, stringent work hours can lead to negative working environments. Employees who are unhappy or unmotivated by their careers are more likely to produce below average work, as well as feel dissatisfied about their life. In order to combat this issue, companies are considering ways to make their people happier and healthier. Some examples include shortening work weeks, giving unlimited vacation days, and changing working environments.

The no-hour workweek is a concept that defines our evolving work culture. It represents the lack of defined business hours, which is becoming more prevalent in the business world. Technologies such as the cloud and wireless communication have reduced the need to work at the office. This freedom allows us to work non-traditional workdays. However, the no-hour workweek also illustrates how the barriers between work time and leisure time are quickly disappearing. Team members can constantly stay in contact through email, social media, and Skype, which also makes it hard to disconnect yourself from work-mode.

In order to make the no-hour workweek successful, there need to be some ground rules. Since the concept is flexible and accommodating, employees can come into the office and leave anytime they want; they also have the ability to work remotely. However, team members must actively communicate on a regular basis. Team members who are not in the office must especially take proactive steps to communicate. Without the collaborative environment that an office provides, remote employees need to make an effort to share and contribute to group discussions and ongoing projects.

While the no-workweek structure allows employees to create their own work schedules, it also means that weekends and after hours are still considered workable. There is not a time of day that is considered off limits in terms of business hours. This can make balancing life and work a bit difficult. It is up to each team member to remember to put the phone away during meals and taking time to enjoy leisurely activities. This takes some discipline and skill, as well as cooperation from household members. To be successful and to prevent it from becoming an all-hour workweek, the no-hour workweek needs a concrete structure in place.

What do you think of the idea of a no-hour workweek?

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