9-5 is dead, long live 5-9

A survey, published by First Direct, revealing that more than a third of British workers now work outside traditional working hours has been heralded by Work Wise UK as yet another demonstration that the nature of work across the world is changing fundamentally.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said: “What we are seeing is the beginnings of a complete revolution in the way we work. The changes are unavoidable, and crucial if the UK economy is going to be able to compete in the global economy in the face of competition already emerging from India and China.

“Shifting working practices to meet market demands, such as 24/7 service, is vital for competitiveness. Those companies that don't change to meet market demands will not be here tomorrow.

“But, generally, this change in the way we work is actually for the good. Apart from significantly improving productivity and competitiveness for businesses, adopting new smarter working practices, such as flexible working, home working, remote working and working from home, will also help employees achieve a better work-life balance, reduce the stress caused by work and long daily commutes, with associated health impacts, and positive effect upon family life.

”And at a time of huge concerns over the environment and congestion, the reduction in the need to travel and staggering of travel times will have a positive impact there as well.

“Pretty much a win-win scenario.” The First Direct survey comes two weeks before Work Wise UK stages the second annual Work Wise Week (May 16 to 22) to continue the campaign to create a ‘smarter’ working Britain. The week includes a number of events and National Work from Home day on Friday, May 18. During the week, organisations will be encouraged to participate in smarter working practices such as allowing staff to stagger their commute and working from home.

Work Wise UK, a not-for-profit initiative, is in the first of a five year programme to promote the wider adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working including compressed working hours and nine-day fortnights, working from home, mobile and remote working, to bring about a workplace revolution, similar in impact to the Industrial Revolution which Great Britain led in the 19th century.