Daylight Savings is one of those semi-annual events that make you stop and say “Oh, we are still doing that?” Which got me thinking: like Daylight Savings, what traditional norms in the workplace has our modern society simply outgrown?Depending your current geography, you either have mixed feelings about Daylight Savings or you simply have no idea of what I am talking about. I myself a native Northeasterner had to recently refresh my understanding of Daylight Savings, and as such bring you this insightful but not boring video.
So, now you know why we move the clocks forward in the Spring only to move them back in the Fall, but to recap for those that missed the video (otherwise, you can jump to the next paragraph). Well, for starters, it offers more sunlight in the summer which, in its inception was designed to yield both energy efficiency and increased productivity. Although it’s reported that the creator of Daylight Savings, George Hudson wanted additional daylight hours to add to his beloved bug collection.
Nonetheless, since proposing the idea back in 1895, nearly every aspect of human life has changed. One of the original benefits of Daylight Savings was the notion that it would reduce the energy usage and cost. However, today we have a number of modern technologies, like air conditioning, computers and televisions that we have come to rely on during those hot summer months; each of which requires added electricity. Thus, flipping Daylight Savings on its head a bit.
In response to this antiquated system, a number of countries globally and two states within the U.S have opted out of observing Daylight Savings entirely; including Hawaii and Arizona (well, parts of Arizona to be clear). Additionally, it’s when it comes to the effects of productivity during Daylight Savings, an estimated $480,000,000 is lost the week preceding the switching of the clocks. Yawn, I mean yikes!
Workforce Trends that Matter Most
It seems like we are rooted in upholding this tradition even though it has and hasn’t proven to save us money. And given our global economy, makes connecting with one another around the world more complicated than ever. This got me thinking about other workforce norms that we continue to preserve without ever questioning why.
Is the 9-5 Workday Dead?
We’ve come a long way from the 16-hour workday during the Industrial Revolution. Today, the average workweek in United States is 34.4 hours as reported in this article by Fortune. The U.S. ranks 16 in the longest workweek, and increasingly these hours occur outside of the traditional eight-hour work day.
So, what gives? The widespread adoption of mobile devices for business purposes has done a number to the 9-5 work day. Now we are constantly on-call and able to respond at all hours of the day; even on weekends and during paid time off. Add to it that a growing number of freelancers and self-employed individuals that frankly make up their own schedules. Lastly, new global industries, like eCommerce sites, that require aerial coverage 24/7. Considering all of this, we simply have to ask ourselves is the 9-5 workday becoming obsolete.
Authenticity Reigns in Retention & Recruiting
Quite frankly, our tolerance for one size fits all has reached its limit; especially when it comes to corporate consciousness and values. Even enterprise-level organizations are being forced to step outside their comfort zone to ensure their brand has a level of authenticity that resonates with its target audience. From social media marketing to the risk of a bad publicity going viral, having a strong employment brand is not only important to those individuals that your organization services, but moreover to the candidates and employees you wish to work for you.
Corporate Culture Pays Big
When I think of the onset of corporate culture, I can’t help but be transported to the Mad Men era. During this time, traditional standards of work were pushed to its very limit, and at times, thrown out the window with every sip of scotch in the office. Sadly, this was likely the dramatized exception and not the rule.
However, today the emphasis on work culture and employee engagement is shattering our highest expectations. Companies continue to push the envelope on office design and cultural norms within the workplace, and it’s paying in dividends.
According to the Harvard Business Review, employees are 30% more likely to adopt leadership tendencies regardless of their position within the company. Organizations that exemplify a clear corporate culture not only become better places to work, but reap the benefits of increased productivity and longer employee retention. In terms of measuring the impact of corporate culture, there has never been more tools to conduct and collect authentic and anonymous insights.
Am I saying that you should pull an Office Space and start disassembling your cubicles, maybe? I believe that over the next decade we will continue to see large leaps in our traditional work standards. Depending on the industry you service will determine how much of a top level priority the new espresso machine really is.