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  • Caspar James - Tech Journalist

Is this the end of the 9 to 5? According to Salesforce, the “9 to 5 workday is dead”

Due to the events of 2020, we have seen a very quick shift from office based employees to those working from home. The working day had always started with the customary early morning commute into the office, on crowded roads, standing room only trains and erratic public transport, hurrying to get in before that elusive 9am start time. And then rushing into the building, trying not to spill your takeaway coffee, while being projected to the eighteenth floor in a high speed lift. Then once at your desk, you had a few moments respite, greeting people at a glance around the room, before your working day began.

Fast-forward to today. Many Silicon Valley tech giants are now discarding the 9 to 5 philosophy and allowing their employees to adopt a new more flexible work ethic. Among them Facebook, Microsoft and the cloud computing company Salesforce.

Salesforce has declared the “9 to 5 work-day is dead” and employees will be able to choose one of three work routines that dictate how often they go into the office once it is finally safe to do so. This will give Salesforce’s employees the flexibility to choose the way they work, either work-from-home, work in the office or a hybrid version of work-from-home and going into the office for work meetings, when required. Many tech companies have chosen the work-from-home policy as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we enter a new year, we must continue to go forward with agility, creativity and a beginner’s mind — and that includes how we cultivate our culture. An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks,” writes Brent Hyder, Salesforce’s chief people officer, in a recent blog.

“In our always-on, always-connected world, it no longer makes sense to expect employees to work an eight-hour shift and do their jobs successfully,” Hyder adds. “Whether you have a global team to manage across time zones, a project-based role that is busier or slower depending on the season, or simply have to balance personal and professional obligations throughout the day, workers need flexibility to be successful.”

With the ongoing precautions caused by the pandemic, businesses have had to give their employees more flexibility during the working day, and with the extra burdens of home-schooling children or looking after relatives who are shielding, now more than ever, there is a need for your workforce away from the office and this new regime may be continued far beyond the end of the pandemic crisis. An employee no longer needs to be deskbound for eight hours during a typical working day shift. Allowing staff to work-from-home also means you don’t have to accommodate them in a physical workspace and this also allows more flexibility when recruiting, as new employees would be able to work outside the main metropolitan hubs; in the case of Salesforce, not requiring an employee to move to expensive urban centres like San Francisco and New York.

In his recent Salesforce blog post, Brent Hyder, defines the three different categories of work as ‘flex’, ‘fully remote’, and ‘office-based’. Flex would mean coming into the office one to three days per week and only for “team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations,” and Salesforce expects most of its employees to fall into the ‘flex’ category.

Fully remote as the name suggests, maybe defined as never going into the office except for occasional meetings or for work-related events. Office-based employees may well be “the smallest population of our workforce,” says Hyder, referring to employees whose roles require them be in the office almost full-term, four to five days per week.

So, is the 9 to 5 working day dead? For some that is a probability, for others, the working day may extend far beyond the typical 8 hour window (9 to 5) and a working day may well start much earlier and finish much later, with the requirement to ‘work after office hours’ may also become the norm, with the working day extended prior to 9am and beyond 5pm.





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