Is the 9 to 5 Work Culture a Thing of the Past?

Working 9 to 5 has been a daily ritual for billions of people around the world for centuries – but has the pandemic put a stop to it forever? 

As hybrid working models replace rigid time-based management systems, more people are working flexible hours and finding ways to fit their jobs around their lives and not the other way around. 

With changing patterns of work behaviour from a 9 to 5 work culture, innovative office spaces will need to stay ahead of the trend in order to appeal to a wide range of professionals in the years to come. Let’s take a look at work trends around the world and what the future of work in South Africa may hold. 

People can’t wait to get back to work – but on their own schedule

It’s no secret that most of us are tired of being away from our familiar offices and co-workers, but that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to go back to their pre-pandemic work arrangements.

Almost two years of remote work and experimenting with different management systems during this time have redefined the way people think about their jobs. There’s a new emphasis on productivity instead of idle office time, and this is likely to affect the schedules that employees agree to as they return to the office. 

  • A recent PWC survey reveals that 83% of employers consider remote work to be a successful strategy while 54% of workers want to continue working remotely after the pandemic ends.
  • The flexibility that a hybrid working model offers is extremely attractive to employees around the world, with 76% of them indicating that they would stay with a company that offers non-traditional working hours. 

These findings shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that nobody wants to come back to the office. Rather, it’s an indication that remote working has become a new management and productivity tool and will be used in conjunction with traditional in office work in the years to come.

It’s clear that employees have gotten used to a new way of working. It’s a working culture that involves periods of remote and in office work as well as flexibility in terms of the working hours and the exact time and place where the job gets done. 

In order to attract the best talent, companies will need to be agile and understanding as they relate to staff members returning to the office in the post-pandemic 

Managing employees in 2022 and beyond: think outcomes, not hours

Every crisis is an opportunity for learning, and the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us more lessons than years in business school ever could. 

  • For employees, one of the biggest skills that came out of the pandemic has been the ability to work independently from a variety of locations and deliver work on time without the need for constant supervision. 
  • Easing back into a normal office schedule will be easier if managers accept that team members have learned to be productive on their own terms – and on their own time. 

A flexible and responsible approach to project management that emphasises milestones and outcomes and not the sheer number of hours that someone works in the office is key to managing employees post pandemic

Older generation managers who were trained under the old 9 to 5 work culture regimen may take time to get used to this new approach. That being said, when gains in efficiency are taken into consideration, creating a bit of leeway for team members is not only good for them but also for the business as a whole. 

Flexibility with accountability 

It’s important to distinguish between flexible management and a total loss of control. While the minute-by-minute process of completing tasks can probably be left to an autonomous employee’s discretion, there are definitely times when everyone needs to be in the office for planning meetings and important client interactions. 

Managers will want to define which tasks can be carried out independently and which need to be done synchronously and ensure that all team members are aware of meeting times and venues in advance. 

Incentives for collaboration like company lunches and sports events can also be phased in gradually as the pandemic recedes and will give team members – especially those who joined the company during the pandemic – a great opportunity to get to know their co-workers and managers again. 

Find the ideal commercial property for your company’s evolving needs

Going back to your Cape Town office in 2022? The best time to start searching for the ideal commercial premises is now. Our team of area specialists is on hand to assist you in the process of selecting an ideal commercial space in Cape Town. Contact us today.