• April 19, 2024

The 9 to 5 is Dead

From Debi Yadegari, the founder and CEO of Villyge

Recently our Director of Leadership asked to skip an upcoming Friday meeting. It was a request I must have received from staff before, but it wasn’t for the reason. Sure, my team has asked for flexibility in the past – to go to a doctor’s appointment, to attend a teachers conference – and that’s something I not only accommodate, but I think it’s something to support our working parents and all of the staff is essential. What made this request so different was that our principal asked to miss our upcoming meeting … to celebrate her anniversary! She stated it was the only time their schedules could work together, and well, it was a year to remember!

In that moment it hit me. Flexible working hours are more than just a fad as working parents are still trying to cope with the challenges of school closings and remote working. Flexible schedules are retained: The 9-5 is dead.

Of course, I agreed to give her the time to be with her husband, and she really didn’t even have to ask. She’s an excellent employee who doesn’t need an artificially set window of time that starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 a.m. to get her job done. Her request was more about communicating with the team, keeping expectations in order, keeping schedules clear, and keeping the dialogue open.

The silver lining of COVID is that we have learned what many of us have always known in our stomachs – employees can be trusted to work even when they are away. A Stanford study found that when employees worked from home, productivity increased 13%. In return, employees rightly demand confidence in their ability to do the tasks they were paid to do in a unique way so that each individual can achieve results. One study found 43% of employees I don’t want to go back to work after the pandemic, which adds to the idea that remote working will stay here. Of course, there are industries where this is not the case due to the nature of the work, especially the service industry, but for many people’s demands for flexibility are just beginning.

There has been a lot of discussion during COVID about the need for flexibility for working mothers, but I want to be very clear here. The 9-5 isn’t just out of date for working mothers. It is out of date for all of us.

Working mothers may have been the first to advocate the idea of ​​a flexible working day, but we need to expand the conversation beyond mothers. If we don’t, the implicit bias will continue to prevail over working mothers and prohibit their advancement in the workplace. That’s why the Marshall Plan for Mothershowever well meant it is hardly empowering. In fact, it’s the opposite of what women and working mothers need right now. It simply gives those who believe that mothers should be the standard caregiver and housekeeper a reason to keep allowing this to happen, reducing the incentive to share the workload and providing real solutions to the strain of currently so many working professionals Decrease mothers. We need to become aware of the fact that solutions in terms of flexibility, remote working and parenting support cannot simply address motherhood or they will miss the mark and stop progress.

With vaccines introduced and regions slowly opening up, we cannot assume that our lives will return to what it was before COVID. The traditional work day is undoubtedly a victim of the pandemic, which has the potential to give working mothers the flexibility they need without making it so prominent that only they benefit from a change in the rigidity of the work schedule.

If working mothers are really to be treated as equals, employers need to create an environment where they can trust a team member enough that they will miss the Friday meeting for whatever reason. Not because an employee is lazy or doesn’t care about his or her job, but because the 9-5 is dead and good employees always get the work that needs to be done. The time has come for other aspects of our lives to be given access to this arbitrary window of time with no apology or hassle because work has certainly done the same for our nights and weekends.

About the author:

Debi Yadegari is the founder and CEO of Villyge, an employer-paid benefit that prepares families for success and helps employees to be successful. She is a former BigLaw attorney and a mother of five.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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