How the 9-to-5 Became the 5-to-9

Workin’ 9 – to – 5, what a way to make a living! There are many 80’s songs that haven’t aged well, but today, we’re going to challenge Dolly’s concept of the “average” American’s workday. Whether you’re a freelancer who works on your own schedule, a telecommuter who bends their hours at will, a workaholic who can’t step on the brakes at 5pm, or simply an overworked employee, we’ve all found ourselves stretching the boundaries of the standard 9 – to – 5 workday.

While the “Technological Revolution” technically began in the late 1960s, the transformation of our workforce into an army of floaters armed with laptops has become widespread far more recently. Businesses and organizations across all industries have morphed into a digital-based model, where employees can be scattered across the globe, but connected online via employee management tools like Active Collab, Basecamp, and Asana.

Here’s the question we should all be exploring: has this drastic shift to a mobile workforce increased efficiency, or increased burnout?

The problem with constant access to your workstation (i.e., your laptop), coupled with the fact that work can technically be executed on at all hours of the day, is that the work truly never ends. When job performance was dependent upon being able to access one’s “workstation”, whether that be machinery, in-person clients, or even a desktop computer, leaving the office meant your workday was DONE. Now that all you need to work on your tasks is your laptop and phone, which usually travel with you wherever you go, you can technically be working anywhere, anytime.

Some would assume this phenomenon is a boon for efficiency, but some would argue that that’s not the case. When work doesn’t fall within a certain timeframe, and employees spend hours and hours online, burnout rates increase exponentially. When you’re constantly hounded with emails, texts, emergencies, and fires to put out, with full access to take care of the problem that very second, it’s only a matter of time before you admit defeat and go the way of Michael Scott:

Declaring to all the world that you are 1,000% DONE.

So how do you prevent burnout when your job requires this availability? How do recalibrate your work life to stay within some semblance of the 9 – to – 5 structure?

Here are three quick tips to prevent you from experiencing the 5-to-9 burnout:

  1. If you’re a freelancer, find an inspiring spot that you’ll use as your “mental office.” When you’re in this coworking space, personal office, or coffee shop, you are in WORK MODE. Once you leave that space, your work day is over and you’re clocked out mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  2. If your job description requires this constant availability, you will have to sacrifice some of your free time to “the cause,” but some times of day need to be declared “sacred ground.” If you need to reclaim your morning for your mental health, let your employer / clients know that you’re Out – Of – Office between the hours of x and y, and do not answer those emails, texts, Slacks, etc.
  3. Don’t be afraid to know when to draw the line. If an employer or client is pushing you too far, or not respecting your requests for a semblance of work-life balance, it’s time to question if this job is aligned with the lifestyle you want to lead.

As the CEO of a shared office space company, I know firsthand how the disintegration of the 9 to 5 lifestyle can bleed into your personal life. By taking steps to ensure that you never lose sight of the true goal, you’re ensuring a healthier work-life balance, AND a more productive, efficient 9-to-5.

AviO is the CEO of PrimeWork Somerset. As an experienced operations manager with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and real estate industries, AviO brings a diverse background and high energy to the magnificent PrimeWork Somerset, as well as new PrimeWork locations opening throughout the Tri-State area. To learn more about the space, visit PrimeWork.com and schedule a tour!