Has the pandemic put an end to the “9 to 5”?

The COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid change to remote work has turned office life upside down. Many workers have taken advantage of flexibility, which gives them a better personal and work life balance. So it seems that the health crisis has shaken the traditional “9 to 5”.

“The 9 to 5, as we know it, doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore,” confirms Pierre Graff, president and CEO of the Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec (RJCCQ).

According to a survey conducted by the RJCCQ on the needs and requirements of professionals aged 16 to 35, 77% of respondents said they wanted a flexible schedule.

“The segmentation of this 77% is interesting,” continues Mr. Graff. “44% of respondents would like to have flexible working hours spread through the day as they see fit.” A typical workday could start at 10 am after a sports session, end at 3 pm, move into shopping and children’s mode, then resume at 7 pm after dinner.

Respondents are also attracted to better scheduling based on tasks. Pierre Graff points out, “There are 33% of people who would prefer more flexibility in their various tasks, with the possibility of some 25 hour work weeks and then some 50 hours”.

Flexibility in demand before the pandemic

Before the health crisis, flexibility was not really in vogue, but it was wished for by many workers. “The pandemic and remote work have made it normal to want freedom in your work schedule,” the director general of the RJCCQ indicates.

Many employers intend to respond positively to the requirements of their staff. According to a study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) carried out in 2021, of the approximately 700 heads of small and medium-sized Canadian businesses surveyed, 74% were intending to continue remote work after the health crisis.

And what are the main advantages of remote work for the 2000 workers surveyed in this study? A more flexible work schedule (62%) and a better life balance (58%).

In a context of labour shortages, employers have more reason than ever to offer flexibility in work schedules in view of attracting and retaining talent.

 Author: Emmanuelle Froment – 37e Avenue 

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