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America's Changing Work Hours

Aug 17, 2007
"I've never been what you'd call a "morning person," unless you're talking about the hours after midnight and before 3 AM. Do I fit better in this era than my parents' working world? Should companies and teams be thinking more about when people are at their best and less about the time clock?"

Recent Trends in Working Hours

There are may possible reasons why there seems to be a change recently in working hours. Word is out that working hours are not the same old 9-5 anymore. One recent survey published by the Financial Times tries to find out many possible reasons for this extraordinary phenomenon. But before you draw conculsions, be forewarned that this mostly relates to citydwellers rather than rural ones.

As per the report by Till Roenneberg, a Munich-based author/researcher, the human clock doesn't work by the clocks of employers; thus the best performance of workers need not be at this 9-5 timing but when they are best prepared. This effectively means letting people choose their work time and expecting them to deliver the best they can.

See Who Works When

Even in older times, working at night or odd hours was not entirely unheard of. Healthcare workers and police on the night beat are a few professions that require non-traditional working hours. But the recent social changes, which are coupled by the growth outsourcing work to other countries, has seen an increase in the type of jobs which require workers to work non-traditional hours.

Technology workers such as software and information engineers are often compelled to work almost around the clock. The old 9-5 hours are often not satisfying to such workers, as they often work well into the night and because his or her biological clock is often mismatched with traditional working hours.

The computer controlled, wired world has made it possible, and also essential for many types of workers to connect to their peers at times they become available. This may be 11am or later, changing the work habits of this century forever.

Choose your working time carefully when work can demand your attention more. It is essential to remember that it is not always the boss who gets you burn the midnight oil because some people are driven by more than the fear of boss. Passion, targets and goals have set the bar high for individual achievement today, which is pushing working hours to the breaking point.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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