Goodbye 9 to 5: Workers' laptops close at 4

If you email an employee at 4 p.m., you might not hear back until 10 p.m. That's the new norm in today's flexible worksphere, according to The Wall Street Journal

The final hours of the once-standardized workday are now a "dead zone," according to the Journal. Workers are using 4-6 p.m. as "flex time" to pick up kids from school, go to the gym and get ahead of post-work traffic. Golf courses and restaurants are now buzzing by 4 p.m. as workers take "9 to 5" as a suggestion. 

This does not mean work is going undone, necessarily. Microsoft researchers observed a "triple peak" in which workers' keyboard activity increases in the morning, afternoon and around 10 p.m. — indicating a final productive push before workers wind down for the night. 

Some argue that the flexibility to set one's own hours makes it harder to get teams on the same page. Maria Banach, a pharmaceutical operations director, told the Journal she has called time-sensitive huddles only to find some workers have gone offline for the afternoon. Albert Fong, vice president of product marketing at a maker of diversity-training software, said that an "always-on" mentality can weaken work-life balance. 

Not all executives feel this way. Ana Paula Calvo, an associate partner at McKinsey & Co., told the Journal she sets expectations at the start of every new project. Her team knows that if she replies at 11 p.m., it does not mean she expects them to reply at that time, she said. 

Managers seem to be adapting to the afternoon slump, according to Microsoft: The share of meetings held between 4-6 p.m. is down 7 percent from the same time last year, despite many CEOs calling a return to office. 

"I hate meetings after 4," Mercedes Aycinena, CEO of a dental equipment company, told the Journal. "My brain is done."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars