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The end of the traditional workday is here – an Introduction

The End of the Nine-to-Five

It happened slowly – and you may not have noticed – but it’s more apparent now than ever: The days of the traditional, 9am-6pm workday are long gone. I say that as I’m typing this out at 9:30pm (Pacific Time, U.S.). It’s not just that I’m specifically a workaholic and the exception –because guess what – I’m replying to emails sent by vendors, partners, clients, and co-workers – which would mean only ONE thing – they are working too.

How did this happen?

Some would say it was all started by the Blackberry – from RIM – the pioneer of the first mainstream device for answering emails from anywhere, anytime (my first was the RIM 950 Pager – pictured here).

Then as more people started to get them (sometimes dubbed the ‘Crack-berry’ for their addictive nature), expectations changed, as did our habits. Remember the days when people checked emails once/day? Now we check emails every 5 minutes – and since we do it, we know other do it too – hence, not only do we feel that we need to reply to emails that are sent to us, but expect others to do the same. All of a sudden, those who don’t reply to emails at all hours are somehow made out to be those who ‘don’t work as hard as we do’.

 

 

Disintegration of time and place.

So what came first – the chicken or the egg? One school of thought blames (or credits) the devices and technology for creating this new mindset. But another says it was the “need” to be connected at all times drove the innovation of devices and a change in attributes and expectations. More and more, even very small companies are multinational in nature – have employees, vendors, partners, and co-workers located all around the world – what does that mean? It’s always between 9am and 5pm *somewhere* in the world.

Case in point, a typical conference call at SADA could be:

Core Team: North Hollywood, CA, USA: GMT -8
SADA Asia Office Team: Surabaya, Java, Indonesia: GMT +9
Potential Client: Islamabad, Pakistan: GMT +5

We had a conference call which had to be scheduled at 9pm North Hollywood time – just because that’s the time that worked for everyone!

I’m pretty certain this is relatively typical for many companies around the world today – and I believe this is at least in part responsible for the disintegration of the typical work day.

Implications…
In a future posting we’ll discuss implications of this trend! This is just an intro…

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