Why We Need To Ditch The 9 To 5 Workday

Photo: DimaBerlin / shutterstock
woman working at her computer

By Laura Herndon

It’s you, not me. And by you, I mean the infamous 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. And this relationship just isn’t going to work for me anymore.

Last year, COVID-19 sent millions of workers from the physical workspace of their offices to the kitchen... err, home office. With the advent of the vaccine, many employers were ready to send their employees back to cubicle hell.

However, here comes the catch — nay nay, said the virus.

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Delta brought us a whole new ballgame, and employers are now holding off on sending their employees back. But is it really necessary to come back at all?

In today’s day and age, many jobs can be performed remotely, thanks to technology. This is fabulous news as studies show working outside of the office makes people happier.

So who decided on 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday? Well, it wasn’t Dolly Parton. So why aren’t the hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.? Or even 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.? Who made these arbitrary hours in the first place?

Well, in 1926, Henry Ford created the idea of the five-day, forty-hour workweek for his factory workers, who’d previously worked much longer hours. At the end of the day, though, the concept of a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job simply isn’t sustainable.

No one wants to combat reckless drivers on pot-hole encrusted roads to reach their destination — a fluorescently lit cubicle with no signs of life other than the sad succulent sitting in the corner next to a picture of your family that you never get to see.

By the time you get home, it’s cold and dark. The only energy you have is to nuke a frozen dinner and fall asleep on the couch watching "Sex/Life" on Netflix.

As millennials, we’re totally different from our parent’s generations. Our parents worked 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding their long commute times, leaving an entire generation known as the “latch key” kids.

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We want more for our futures and children than a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job gives us.

Take me as an example. As a freelancer, I’m able to take my kid to and from school. I also work in a library part-time, and on those days, his dad picks him up as he works from home.

Teleworking changed the game; the rules are different now. While COVID-19 has certainly curtailed many fun activities for us, we have spent more time with our son this past year than ever before. I, for one, can’t go back.

I can’t go back to the drudgery of the cubicle farm. While I speak about my experience as a mom, many others are pet parents or have vibrant social lives.

It’s hard to meet your besties for brunch if you’re tallying this week’s report at the office, dreaming of mimosas. Hiking with your furry friend has to wait if you need to attend this week’s budget meeting, which totally could’ve been an email.

The bottom line? The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday simply doesn’t work anymore.

Families are no longer one dad, one mom, their children, and the dog. The nuclear family belongs in the history books along with "Leave It To Beaver." The concept of the man working while the missus stays at home and tends to the house is gone.

It’s 2022. We can send spreadsheets and documents with a flick of our wrist. We can join a Zoom meeting practically anywhere. Women are set to outpace men when it comes to earning a college degree.

Times are changing every day. And that’s why we need to break up with the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday.

What started off as a way for factory employees to work fewer hours is obsolete nowadays.

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Anna Laura Herndon is a writer, advocate, and creator of Rants of a Virgo, an essay site. She writes about love, relationships, LGBTQ+ issues, and current events.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.