Our View on a Happier Workplace
One hundred years ago, in November of 1919, the International Labor Organisation decided to adopt the 8-hour work day. The world ran with it, and we haven’t really questioned it since.
Here are a few things that have happened since 1919. We built computers to do the math for us. We put a dog in space, then a man on the moon. Created the Internet which changed, well, literally everything.
While the technology of work has changed beyond recognition, our thinking has not. The idea that work happens in one place—and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—persists.
But it doesn’t happen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It happens on your commute, during your lunch hour, and between watercooler chats and Facebook scrolling. You most certainly don’t have to clock a full 8 hours in a building to have gotten work done.
Forcing people into an 8-hour, on-site model isn’t just arbitrary. It also leads to frustration and unhappiness. Only 33% of Americans feel engaged at work, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce study. They also found that 51% of respondents would leave their job if offered flexible working arrangements elsewhere.
Happy is better
We work in order to live, not the other way around. Each of us has things to take care outside of our work responsibilities. Maybe it’s our children, our parents, or other family members.
2017 data from the US Bureau of Labour shows that in 61.1% of families with kids, both parents have to work, meaning their children spend less time with their parents. The same thing happens in single-parent families, which make up 9.56% of American households, according to OECD data from 2011.
16.2% of Americans are also the primary caretakers for their elderly family members, which takes an average of almost three hours a day.
Every extra minute we have to spend manning a desk is a minute away from the important people and things that make life worth living.
But for the first time in history, we have the tools to support work-life balance.
The Future is Flexible
4.7 million employees, or 3.4% of the U.S. labor force, are already working from home at least half of the time, according to a 2019 Global Workforce Analytics report. In the past decade, that number has grown by 159%.
Flexible work is becoming mainstream. Soon, offering flextime won’t be a competitive advantage, but a basic requirement.
It’s already happening, actually; in this year’s Stackoverflow survey of 90,000 software developers, nearly half (42.5%) of respondents said flexible hours were the most important factor in a job.
Flexibility gives people the freedom to do their best work. Cutting out office distractions and interruptions increases flexibility, and having that flexibility—the agency to choose when and how and from where you work—can make you happier. Being stuck at a desk on a bad day isn’t good for anybody.
We know that everyone has priorities in life other than work and that flexible work options leave more time for them. That’s why we’re driven to create ways to make managing your work—and your life—easier.