The 40 Hour Workweek Is Gone!

This may come as a shock to older leaders but I think younger leaders understand this. The 40 hour workweek is gone.

The mindset of working 40 hours a week has been destroyed. It’s been crushed. And you must learn to adapt to this new work environment.

Keynote speaker Lance Richards recently shared his thoughts at a Solutions Expo in Grand Rapids on this topic. Which made me want to share my take on his talk.

What Killed The 40 Hour Workweek?

Traditionally, office work has been done in an office or a cubicle. Lately, this work has moved towards an open office.

This still only covers a part of where work takes place.

No longer are employees tied to a fixed workstation. Oh no, they now have access to the office within reach of their fingertips all the time.

Employees are carrying around laptops, tablets, and smartphones that have instant access to work email. They also have access to work documents and contact lists.

Your employees no longer leave work at the office. They’re bringing their work on the road, to their homes, and to their social hangouts.

The electronic revolution has killed the 40 hour workweek.

What A Leader Must Do To Deal With The Death Of 40 Hour Weeks

Older generations are struggling with up and coming millennials who no longer see their workweek as 8-5 or 9-5. They realize their work is always with them.

Richards mentioned organizations are seeing workers thinking they can leave work at 3PM to catch an afternoon ballgame. And current leaders are struggling to deal with this mindset.

They feel employees should be in front of a desk pecking away at a keyboard. Employees need to be seen to be considered working.

As mentioned, work is being done outside of the office. Young employees are working more hours than ever and they’re wanting to see their workplace recognize this.

This is where leaving at 3PM is not a big deal to these employees. They’ve put in work after hours (or even before work) and they feel they’ve earned the right to cut out early.

Your success as a leader of younger employees will come with how you deal with these situations.

Do you crack down and say

No, your schedule is 8-5 and you must be here during those hours. No exceptions. We need you in front of your desk.

Or do you see how the workplace has shifted and begin accommodating the extra hours your team has put in? Is it time you say:

Tom, I know you’re always connected to the office. You’re probably checking work email before you go to bed and shortly after you wake up. You’re also doing work from home. Feel free to take the afternoon off and catch the ballgame. You’ve earned it.

With the changing landscape of work, leaders must be willing to shift from saying 1 to saying 2.

Your team is working more hours than ever before. They’re creating value for your organization from the office as well as from home.

Honor this commitment from your team by showing them the organization is flexible.

Question: How are you dealing with the changing landscape of the workplace? Are you willing to be flexible with working hours or are you holding to fast and hard rules? Let’s talk about this in the comment section below.

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