• SENSEX
    NIFTY 50
Business

Is the 9-to-5 job a thing of the past? Here is what employers have to say

Updated : February 15, 2021 06:13 PM IST

The spread of COVID-19 across the globe had a disruptive effect on our day to day life. With the spread of the pandemic making it impossible to go to offices, ‘work from home’ became the motto for both employers and employees. While there were initially some issues when the office work was shifted to the bedrooms and the drawing rooms within the four walls of one’s home it has since revolutionalised our work culture so much that questions are being raised whether the conventional 9 to 5 office culture can ever make a comeback. With many predicting the end of the 9 to 5 office going culture here is a look at what some employees and employers want to say.

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic meant employees worldwide switched to a work-from-home model of working almost overnight. But working from home also blurred the lives between professional and personal. The work-from-home model also meant that out went the 9-to-5 working model as employees became more accessible outside of these hours. We asked experts to predict how the pandemic and its residual impact will affect the 9-to-5 model. Here's what they said. (Stock image)
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic meant employees worldwide switched to a work-from-home model of working almost overnight. But working from home also blurred the lives between professional and personal. The work-from-home model also meant that out went the 9-to-5 working model as employees became more accessible outside of these hours. We asked experts to predict how the pandemic and its residual impact will affect the 9-to-5 model. Here's what they said. (Stock image)
 Urvi Aradhya, CHRO, K Raheja Corp:   “The workplace remains a central point that drives a company’s culture and values nurturing bonding and camaraderie amongst the employees. We believe that conventional way of ‘9-to-5’ office functioning will be challenged and businesses will witness the emergence of a hybrid workplace with flexible work policies. The work hours may be tweaked to ensure that employees don’t have to travel during peak hours. The hybrid way of working will open new avenues of communication, engagement and collaboration within multiple teams.” (File Photo: IANS)
Urvi Aradhya, CHRO, K Raheja Corp:  “The workplace remains a central point that drives a company’s culture and values nurturing bonding and camaraderie amongst the employees. We believe that conventional way of ‘9-to-5’ office functioning will be challenged and businesses will witness the emergence of a hybrid workplace with flexible work policies. The work hours may be tweaked to ensure that employees don’t have to travel during peak hours. The hybrid way of working will open new avenues of communication, engagement and collaboration within multiple teams.” (File Photo: IANS)
 B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star Limited:  “We believe that the working hours shall have to be determined by the needs of the customers whom we serve. Dealers operate from around 11 am till 8 pm. E-commerce works round the clock. Residential customers would like the ACs to be installed or serviced on weekends. Institutional customers want us to schedule the service or installation after office hours. The cold chain works 24X7, 365 days. Factories work 2 shifts. Under the circumstances, more than 60% of Blue Star employees work with flexible timings. The office-based employees have fixed timing, but with limited flexibility of one hour.” (Representative image)
B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star Limited: “We believe that the working hours shall have to be determined by the needs of the customers whom we serve. Dealers operate from around 11 am till 8 pm. E-commerce works round the clock. Residential customers would like the ACs to be installed or serviced on weekends. Institutional customers want us to schedule the service or installation after office hours. The cold chain works 24X7, 365 days. Factories work 2 shifts. Under the circumstances, more than 60% of Blue Star employees work with flexible timings. The office-based employees have fixed timing, but with limited flexibility of one hour.” (Representative image)
 TN Hari, founder and Head of HR, BigBasket:  “Manufacturing will continue to need some kind of a 9 to 5 schedule, and 9 to 5 need not literally mean 9 to 5; it could be 6 to 2 or 11 to 7. However, the pandemic has forced us to question a few things, the most important being the need for facetime. Distance has suddenly been conquered and the need to commute 2 hours in traffic every day to get this facetime has been proven to be a wasteful pursuit. However, the advantages of having everyone in large teams available in a standard window outweigh the disadvantages. For smaller teams where there isn't much of coordinated effort between the team members, a fixed time is not essential. Many such teams anyway were not seriously sticking to a 9 to 5 schedule.” (Stock image)
TN Hari, founder and Head of HR, BigBasket: “Manufacturing will continue to need some kind of a 9 to 5 schedule, and 9 to 5 need not literally mean 9 to 5; it could be 6 to 2 or 11 to 7. However, the pandemic has forced us to question a few things, the most important being the need for facetime. Distance has suddenly been conquered and the need to commute 2 hours in traffic every day to get this facetime has been proven to be a wasteful pursuit. However, the advantages of having everyone in large teams available in a standard window outweigh the disadvantages. For smaller teams where there isn't much of coordinated effort between the team members, a fixed time is not essential. Many such teams anyway were not seriously sticking to a 9 to 5 schedule.” (Stock image)
 Prabir Jha, HR consultant:  “My own sense is there will be more accommodation but the classical 9-to-5 will not go away. The blur between home and work is not helping psychological health. Hours are getting stretched for a poor cultural discipline we mostly have. Also, the emotional bonding and camaraderie of a physical 9-to-5 do help with ideation, innovation and impact. There will be functional and industry variances for sure and companies will take some more time to know which really is a more sustainable model.” (Representative image:  Reuters)
Prabir Jha, HR consultant: “My own sense is there will be more accommodation but the classical 9-to-5 will not go away. The blur between home and work is not helping psychological health. Hours are getting stretched for a poor cultural discipline we mostly have. Also, the emotional bonding and camaraderie of a physical 9-to-5 do help with ideation, innovation and impact. There will be functional and industry variances for sure and companies will take some more time to know which really is a more sustainable model.” (Representative image:  Reuters)
 Raju Mistry, President and Global Chief People Officer, Cipla:  “Organisations are working towards rolling out flexi-policies for employees to ensure ease of work in this post-COVID new reality. One such approach is to enable flexible working hours and flexi work locations. However, a one-size-fits-all approach may not always be appropriate. In line with the evolving scenario, we at Cipla have embraced a hybrid return to office approach for our office-based employees with the option to work from home, ensuring the safety of our employees through stringent safety protocols. The hybrid way of working is a win-win option for both employees and the organization.” (Stock image)
Raju Mistry, President and Global Chief People Officer, Cipla: “Organisations are working towards rolling out flexi-policies for employees to ensure ease of work in this post-COVID new reality. One such approach is to enable flexible working hours and flexi work locations. However, a one-size-fits-all approach may not always be appropriate. In line with the evolving scenario, we at Cipla have embraced a hybrid return to office approach for our office-based employees with the option to work from home, ensuring the safety of our employees through stringent safety protocols. The hybrid way of working is a win-win option for both employees and the organization.” (Stock image)
 Ajay Carvalho, HR Head, ASUS Technology Pvt. Ltd:  “Asus has been very flexible with its daily operations, however, there are a few departments such as the warehouse & logistics, which still require a physical presence and are inevitably excluded from the WFH model. Employees from other departments may need to visit the office on a case to case basis subject to approvals from immediate managers and administration following strict safety norms. To say 9-to-5 workday is dead would not be completely accurate, and again, would be based on different industry types and perspectives. In the IT (hardware) industry, we may have a few days that may have work beyond the regular 9-to-5 timeline which isn’t different from when we visited offices regularly. Work from home is simply an alternative option that has given the flexibility to the organization to ensure seamless continuity of the business.”  (Stock image)
Ajay Carvalho, HR Head, ASUS Technology Pvt. Ltd: “Asus has been very flexible with its daily operations, however, there are a few departments such as the warehouse & logistics, which still require a physical presence and are inevitably excluded from the WFH model. Employees from other departments may need to visit the office on a case to case basis subject to approvals from immediate managers and administration following strict safety norms. To say 9-to-5 workday is dead would not be completely accurate, and again, would be based on different industry types and perspectives. In the IT (hardware) industry, we may have a few days that may have work beyond the regular 9-to-5 timeline which isn’t different from when we visited offices regularly. Work from home is simply an alternative option that has given the flexibility to the organization to ensure seamless continuity of the business.”  (Stock image)
 Krity Sharma, Chief People Officer, Mahindra Lifespaces:
Krity Sharma, Chief People Officer, Mahindra Lifespaces: "Office spaces will likely be viewed more as collaborative spaces in the new normal, where teams will gather to bounce ideas off each other and accomplish tasks that require physical presence. The hybrid work model is expected to stay for some time and this will depend on both regulatory guidelines and business demands.  Social distancing, safety and hygiene norms are of course priority areas for organisations and might necessitate reduced occupancy in brick-and-mortar offices for some time to come.  At the same time, many organisations in industries that do not require on-site presence are now embracing remote working as an efficient alternative.  What this means is that while we might not settle for either extreme -  everyone working from home or everyone back in offices full-time - the model of employees coming into the office every day will certainly be examined with a more critical lens going forward.“ (Image: Mahindra Lifespaces website)
 Amit Prakash, Chief Human Resources Officer, Marico Limited:  “For long, we have not had a punch card system in our Regional and Corporate offices. We are a strong believer of providing flexibility to our workforce and we have never tracked their work hours. As long as members are able to work productively and deliver results, it does not matter whether the members are attending office 9 to 5 PM or choose their own time to work. Going forward, I see that companies would be moving towards core time for meetings – where everyone needs to be available while providing flexibility to employees to choose the rest of the time basis their own personal and professional needs.” (Stock image)
Amit Prakash, Chief Human Resources Officer, Marico Limited: “For long, we have not had a punch card system in our Regional and Corporate offices. We are a strong believer of providing flexibility to our workforce and we have never tracked their work hours. As long as members are able to work productively and deliver results, it does not matter whether the members are attending office 9 to 5 PM or choose their own time to work. Going forward, I see that companies would be moving towards core time for meetings – where everyone needs to be available while providing flexibility to employees to choose the rest of the time basis their own personal and professional needs.” (Stock image)
Published : February 15, 2021 04:19 PM IST
Live TV

recommended for you

Ask Our Experts CNBC TV18

Advertisement