Why we should embrace the 9-to-5

Working just eight hours a day is becoming increasingly difficult in the connected world

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The 9-to-5, with its notions of boredom and normalcy, has long represented a life not lived. But in a world that is connected 24/7, where work is only a few clicks away, perhaps we should start to see the nine to five as a form of liberation.

That’s the view of Carl Cederstrom of The Atlantic, who noted that annual working hours were in steady decline for a century in the US. On average, US employees worked about 3,000 hours a year in 1879, which decreased to 1,900 in 1973. But since 1973, the trend has reversed. The average worker has added 180 more hours to his annual working schedule.

Working just eight hours a day is becoming increasingly difficult in the connected world. A new study by wifi network iPass revealed that mobile technology is taking over some workers lives, with the majority using their device during their free time.

Over 35 per cent of people surveyed said they check their email before they do anything else in the morning, while 17 per cent waited to be dressed. Most startling of all: some 38 per cent of the respondents said they woke up during the night to check their emails.


According to another report by Staples Advantage Workplace Index, surveying more than 2,600 office workers in the US and Canada, more than half of the employees were experiencing burnout from working long hours.

The regular work day is changing as more and more employers start to embrace flexible hours. Some experts have even called for the working week to be shortened. But with mobile technology making it possible for anyone to be on call, the drudgery of the 9-to-5 doesn’t sound so bad after all.