Over the last few years, many workers have grown used to working remotely. That often means adjusting hours to care for children, having time for household chores, and spending quality time with our mates. All while still putting out the same amount of work, often universal hours of 9-5 regardless of the role.
And while some jobs will still require set hours, such as being a server at a restaurant or working as a nurse, many people are integrating AI and other IT services, cutting down on the time or manpower required.
It’s not necessarily about getting off early, but rather a flexibility of hours. When a big report is due or a client needs to chat, a person could work more hours than usual. It’s a whatever-it-takes attitude.
On the other hand, if you get that report done early, are you supposed to spend the next few hours just trying to look busy to avoid burning yourself out by taking on more extensive projects?
When the 40-hour workweek was created it was primarily based on physical labour. So were 15-minute breaks for the body to rest.
However, less than a million Aussies were working in manufacturing before 2022, which equated to about 6 per cent of the workforce. There has been a resurgence since the pandemic, but it's hard to imagine manufacturing providing the majority of Australian jobs in the near future.
Information jobs rule the day. We have spent a boatload of money making computers and the internet faster but have yet to suggest we change our work hours to accommodate that faster processing time.
Some scientific studies claim the 40-hour workweek may be too much regarding employee wellbeing. Other studies claim 40 hours is just right. This may be because the question is not about hours, but rather about productivity.
Hybrid work is still a huge factor for employees. “Hybrid” means working some days in the office and some at home.
We’ve gotten used to remote work, and it seems natural. Giving up the flexibility of working remotely is a tough sell for companies.
According to the Australian Government Productivity Commission, three-fourths of employees say they get as much work done at home as they do in the office. The commission claims that most workers want some work-at-home days.
The study says that pre-pandemic Aussie workers spend nearly 70 minutes daily and about $50 daily on their commutes. By saving this time and money during rising inflation, some people feel more positive about working at their company. Still, employers are resisting. For example, the CEO of J.P. Morgan, which has offices in Australia, says, “no way.” He claims people won’t hustle when they work from home, a phenomenon that is now being called proximity bias.
And so, the battle is on. Who will win is impossible to predict. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see hybrid work as a permanent feature of most jobs, trying to sweeten the pot for prospective employees.
Hybrid or not, delivering results instead of clocking hours is a concept that will likely gain traction over time. When the boss needs a document or an analysis, the point is to deliver, not to check how long it takes to do it.
Of course, many supervisors may claim that getting work done faster means you can move on to other work, which can often lead to burnout for the worker.
The whole idea may depend on work vs life balance. By measuring results instead of hours, employees have the opportunity to craft their lives as well as their outputs.
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