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The new workweek: The ability to work wherever, whenever

The standard 9-5 is slowly disintegrating. Anyone can work 8 hours a day, but what did you actually achieve during that timespan? What it really boils down to is the difference between working – and delivering value.

A lot has changed since Henry Ford toyed with this model, so it only seems natural that forcing your team to be productive within an eight-hour window Monday to Friday is a bit of an antiquated concept. Working wherever you want and having the autonomy to set your lifestyle around your work is an idea that’s beginning to pick up steam.

The contemporary model for corporate policy is changing and needs to be malleable in order to adapt to the shift in worker behaviour. Bear in mind that this mentality might not work for all businesses and roles – but the work-life balance has drastically shifted with the favour titled more towards the latter of the two.

Here are four essential aspects to consider with regards to the new workweek.

  1. You lose out on top talent

Having restrictions on where, when and how someone is supposed to work puts major restraints on the quality of talent that will pour in. Strict policies will ultimately deny companies the opportunity to hire the best of the best.

  1. The unlimited vacation policy

“Treat people as human beings, give them that flexibility, and I don’t think they’ll abuse it. They’ll get the job done.”

Richard Branson is a major proponent of treating others how you would like to be treated – and using this framework to define his company culture. If you could choose anywhere in the world to work to create your own ecosystem tailored to your liking – how would you design it? The unlimited vacation policy helps companies acquire top talent, create employee loyalty and gives a significant boost to worker morale. Don’t worry about scheduling conflicts and deadlines not being met – every team member doesn’t have to be under the same roof for productivity to occur.

  1. Is the 9-5 is dissolving?

Is it time to start considering a shift away from the traditional 8-hour workday? Companies in Sweden seem to think so.

“I think the eight-hour workday is not as effective as one would think,” says Linus Feldt, CEO of Stockholm-based app developer Filimundus.

By eliminating redundant meetings, encouraging the limited use of social media and other personal distractions – it helps employees focus more intensely on their work and lets them retain energy and stamina for their family and lifestyle values. One major advantage that comes from this shift is the ability to hire and retain talent because it shows the genuine care for team members and the emphasis they place on their happiness. People aren’t as drained or fatigued from the rigors of an eight-hour day and feel refreshed rather than stressed because of it.

“Some people would argue that it is a costly measure for the company, but that is based on a conventional conception that people are effective 100% of an eight-hour day,” says Feldt.

  1. The Millennial Connection

A Millennial Branding report found 45% of Millennials would choose workplace flexibility over pay. While some might scoff at this statistic – it’s only going to grow, along with the largest generation in history. This surge of new workers is helping to shine a fresh perspective by holding up a mirror to the contemporary workplace and looks to disrupt its set-in-stone ways.

It’s important to remember that this evolving model doesn’t apply to all businesses. However, it does encourage organizations to become more malleable and redefining what it truly means for one to be productive. A strong culture needs to be developed early while continuing to foster it throughout and work to protect it against the strains of time.