Is the 9 to 5 routine becoming a relic of the past?

Back when the internet was not around and entrepreneurship did not garner the same level of respect it does today, a traditional climb up the ladder was the expected path – for women and men. Today, enter the world wide web, work-from-home careers, social networking and everything else in between, men and women are increasingly finding themselves attracted to different career paths that do not always keep the traditional 9 to 5 routine.

Working from home, freelancing and entrepreneurship are becoming empowered career paths – working times have changed beyond recognition. As more and more people work on line and across time zones, the 9 to 5 routine no longer applies the way it did before. According to estimates, 60% of the Generation Y or the Millennials, generally referring to the generation born during the eighties onwards, are leaving companies in less than three years  to pursue different goals. They are not sticking around for a long term career – 9 to 5 office routine that once so faithfully adhered to, is no longer the game plan. The game plan, in fact, could be just about anywhere, thanks to internet powered smart phones and tabs.

The concept of an office as in a smart cubicle, accompanied by the traditional corporate trimmings, is no longer the icing on the cake for smart women (and men). More so for women because working from home, meeting deadlines and developing individual schedules have never looked more attractive , especially to career mothers.

Flexibility,  a greater understanding of the vast market out there and the infinite possibilities the world wide web opens up are some of the main reasons why most women prefer turning their backs on the 9 to 5 routine. Yes there are the ones who actually benefit from physically going to office. After five or six years on the job, it becomes second nature. Some, in fact, look forward to going to work, having the first cup of tea or coffee, catching up on the week’s gossip before attending to work but for others, the 9 to 5 routine robs them of flexibility and opportunities to reach the stars.

According to the recent Millenial Branding Report, 45% of the Generation Y chose flexibility at work over a higher pay. Take for an example web based companies who built their success on innovative platforms. Lionbridge is one such company – they started as a translation focused site but soon expanded to provide crowd sourced employees to a wide range of companies. Their crowd workers include stay at home mothers, retirees and of course Millennials who seem to prefer flexibility over fixed routine.

While seeking to work on assignments on their own terms, the Generation Y also prefers work that generally targets a greater purpose like changing the world. In a study conducted in the USA, 72% of students as compared to 53% of workers, preferred a job that could make an ‘impact’.   The ‘impact’ was not necessarily social but could also be personal. As a result, social entrepreneurship has exploded in the last few years and continues to draw faithful adherents.

There are other aspects – values, building lasting relationships and forming bonds with others at work – all of these are emerging as key employee indicators. More and more of the young generation are seeking jobs that are culturally ‘sound’. Companies such as Google that work on totally different platforms from the traditional office model, are popular and are sought after.

As novel as these concerns are, they do not filter down always into being financially viable. The young generation sometimes does not realize that there is number crunching involved in most ventures that bring in the dough. There are some innovative platforms that could rival the 9 to 5 office routine but they are too far and in between to make an impact large enough to be felt in the market place.

What they also do not realize is that success still means hard work that takes commitment. While some can accomplish work wherever they maybe, others still may benefit from the traditional office environment. Not everyone is cut out for the kind of intangible but highly successful work models involving flexibility and web based portals.

Technology has already made its impact in the way we live and work – the world wide web has changed the way we communicate, think and apply ourselves to different situations. It has transformed the office environment, the study environment and the home environment. Yet, it will continue to do all this and more, co-existing beside the traditional models of the already established parameters.  At least for now.


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