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Have we finally turned off the 9 to 5 button?

Posted on Thu, 2020-12-03 17:34 by Angela Newton


Tumble out of bed

And stumble to the kitchen

Pour myself a cup of ambition

And yawn and stretch and try to come to life


Dolly Parton’s ‘Working 9-to-5’ feels more like ‘working, a hard day’s night’ by the Beatles these days.

Our working lives become increasingly 24-7 with fixed working hours and a static working place for tthe office worker becoming a thing of the past. So, when does the working day begin and end?

Our lives are busier than ever, with additional tasks to do in our families and friendships. We need to work harder than ever before to get our everyday schedule synced up.  Undeniably digital has had a huge part to play in a new flexible way of working, it enabled us to make the move from office to home in March pretty seamlessly. We’re able to work from anywhere and everywhere. We are living in a world where our tech devices are constantly buzzing and more often than not, we react as quickly as we are buzzed!

For me returning to work after my second child, timed nicely with the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions placed on the ‘office’, has been both a blessing and a challenge. For the first few months I was working from home with two small children under the age of four.  With no work life balance. ‘9 to 5’ had stopped and had switched to ‘24-7’ and boy was ‘I working like a dog’!

My laptop on my dining table and the ability to work in the evenings was making me obsessive with work (partly because it was productive to work in the evenings when the kids were in bed) but I was neglecting the fact I had other responsibilities and relationships to uphold.  I was trying to get up to speed, prove that I still had flare, leadership and ambition. I did this by working every hour. The mental load of dealing with caring, working and housework meant I was facing burn out.

A sharp reality check and near miss mental breakdown made me observe the benefits of the flexibility we had been given due to Covid restrictions; to work remotely and juggle child-care versus feeling like you are on call and the ease of just being able to just do another hour.

As a creative person an idea can come at any time of the day and looking back, 9-5pm offered no more than structure to my day. Often an idea is challenged or developed by a completely different activity and I thrive on that.

I know I won’t go back to a 9-5 structure. We are juggling more than ever with childcare, remote working and general anxieties of the Covid-19 crisis, but this, for me, is a sign that things could change for the better.

The future is about implementing flexible work patterns, a work life blend, creating spaces that allow this to work for each and everyone of us, that is shaped by us individually, that meets your own needs and that of your employer.