The theme tune for a movie about women in the workplace, ‘9-5’ epitomises that daily routine shared by millions across the globe. But is it still the reality for many in Ireland today? Or should Irish businesses have a major rethink about these working hours?
Why Not 9-5?
While the eight-hour-day was intensely sought after by workers in Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century, today it isn’t so lauded.
In 2018, just 5% of Irish people reported actually working 9am to 5pm; their contracts may have sad they should work these traditional hours, but in reality those hours fluctuated. In fact, 45% of respondents in this same study reported that they worked hours that suited them, with 31% in want of an 8-4 working pattern and 32% arguing for a longer day but shorter work week.
Clearly, Ireland is fighting against the rigidity of the traditional 9-5 in favour of increased flexibility.
- Increasing Women in the Workplace
In fact, over 50% of Irish women over the age of 15 are now in the labour force; flexibility is needed if your business is to keep this talent within its grips.
- Technological Advancement
But that ship has sailed. With most firms now accessing the adaptability of a cloud-based server, workers can access all the information that they need to do their jobs simply from the click of a button, allowing employees to work practically anywhere that has an internet connection.
Technological advancement has derailed the traditional 9-5 in preference to a more flexible schedule that allows employees to work wherever and, by and large, whenever they want.
The phenomenon of ‘presenteeism’ has killed productivity, as workers force themselves to stay after their contracted hours in an effort to make themselves appear to be working harder.
In reality, your employees have spent 8+ hours doing a job that could have taken them 4 or 5. Responding to this, some companies such as Ireland’s very own ICE Group have went the extra mile, introducing a four day working week in an effort to bring more flexibility into the workplace, drive up employee retention and increase productivity.
Offering more flexibility to eradicate this issue, giving employees back the power to choose their hours and become more productive in the long run.
How Can HR Help?
Communication – it can’t be stressed enough. Get your HR team to talk with employees, listen to their views on their working hours and how best your business could support them to remain productive and at optimum performance.
As a company, it is crucial that you are willing to listen to the feedback and alter your working environment to suit modern conditions. With low unemployment and a dearth of high-skilled talent, a refusal to listen to employees in this way could be detrimental for your talent retention.
Take a leaf out of Dolly’s songbook and take time to rethink your working hours for the sake of your workplace wellbeing.