It has been clear for some time that many people forced to work remotely because of the pandemic have found that they prefer this and are reluctant to return to the office.
Employers, too, have realised that it not only reduces overheads but that it does not lead to a reduction in productivity.
But many people even working remotely have stuck to the traditional 9-5 pattern and now researchers at the leading business research and advisory company, Gartner, have looked at this way of working and are concluding that it is causing significant damage to employees, particularly causing an increase in fatigue.
They argue that “In today’s context, office-centric work is a square peg and the remote environment is a round hole.”
The formalised working day based on office hours, they argue, was established in the 1920s and is “unsuitable for the remote environment where we do not have concrete signals to start or end our workday”.
It also questions the need for meetings as the best way to collaborate, much of it no longer necessary, it argues, in an age of email, instant messaging and shared drives.
The researchers’ findings are to some extent supported by another piece of research reported by Wired which described various experiments based on the Scandinavian model.
While productivity improved among those businesses that tried a shorter, five-hour day, there were some downsides, generally in the area of losing something on the relationship level, in team culture and loyalty.