The Slow But Sure Death of the 9–5 Workday

Let’s face it — this is long overdue. The 40-hour work week is an outdated system based on the industrial revolution and technology from centuries past.

You may say this doesn’t matter to my company, but consider this. According to Forbes 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years. With 87% of companies reporting a cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee. To top it all off, 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay.

Where did this all start?

May 26, 1926 — The 40 hour workweek has its roots in 1922 and Ford Motor Company. Edsel Ford, the at the time President of the company and Henry Ford’s son was quoted as saying;

“Every man needs more than one day a week for rest and recreation…. The Ford Motor Company always has sought to promote ideal home life for its employees. We believe that in order to live properly every man should have more time to spend with his family.” — Edsel Ford

His dad also spoke on this matter saying;

“It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either ‘lost time’ or a class privilege.” — Henry Ford

But why kill a system that has done so well?

Because we are almost 100 years older, and 100 years more advanced than when it was created.

Can you imagine using a 100 year old communication system, or transportation, or anything from 100 years ago? Probably not. We have better tools and resources than that time — hell, we even have jetpacks.

….because it is inefficient

From the very beginning, it diminishes productivity! Driving to work — getting to the office in itself can be extremely inefficient.

Just consider for a moment the idea that our workforce is over 130 million people.

What happens when the majority of these people attempt to drive to work at the same time every morning? — –Traffic.

How much fun is traffic? How excited and energized are you after sitting in traffic before you get to the office? According to Forbes, 10.8 million people commute an hour or more to work each way. I feel even worse for the 600,000 people who reported traveling 90 minutes or over 50 miles to work every day.

By the time you’ve arrived at work you’ve already exhausted your patience, drained your self-control because you didn’t ram that a-hole that doesn’t understand his turn signal, and without that energy and self-discipline, you’re not ready to perform at your highest level.

….because putting a time limit on your workday doesn’t work

When you tell a person they are stuck anywhere for 8 hours and not free until that time is up, they are going to do their damnedest to make that time go by quicker and get back to their freedom. Herein results a phenomenon we know as “Fake Work”

Fake Work can be described in two ways. One is accidental and the other is deliberate — and I’m sure we’re all guilty of both.

Deliberate Fake Work is:

Appearing to be working, but in actuality are not doing anything productive for the organization.

You may have your spreadsheets up, but you’re really playing Clash of Clans or mindlessly scrolling your social media, maybe even texting your friends to make plans after work.

Accidental Fake Work is:

Investing time or resources into a project that does not produce the intended outcome.

Imagine an idea generating session on your clients next social media campaign that ends up never taking place or the client chooses another firm over yours.

For more on Fake Work checkout Fake Work by Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson.

…..lastly, people are unhappy.

How often do you find yourself counting down the days until the weekend? Or your next day off? Why do we do this to ourselves? Even the bosses seem to be in a better mood on Friday. How much of your full potential can you really reach if you are putting yourself in an environment that makes you anticipate your next escape?

We’re killing our competitive advantage — creativity.

With the extremely advances strides the human race is taking in technology, we are soon going to automate almost everything. What will remain our competitive advantage in the workforce will become our creative thinking. Creative positions have only been around for a short time but according to Forbes and Wikipedia already take up 30% of the workforce (that’s 40 million people.)

And don’t think of creatives in the traditional sense:

This group comprises about 12 percent of all U.S. jobs. It includes a wide range of occupations (e.g. science, engineering, education, computer programming, research), with arts, design, and media workers forming a small subset.

The rationale behind it is simple. When we look for jobs now, we no longer are just looking for a “job”.

We are looking to fill basic needs like that of fulfillment, security, and freedom.

We need the safety and security traditional positions don’t offer and avoid the ghosts of layoffs and downsizes past.

We need the flexibility to see our family and friends at a moment’s notice, and work when we know we perform best.

And at the end of the day, we need to feel like what we’ve done matters.

That we made a difference.

And that we did it doing something we’re passionate about.

Thanks for reading this! I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing it as much as I did writing it.

Please leave some thoughts below or shoot me a message, I would love to hear from you