Is It Closing Time for 9-to-5 Office Hours?

Traditional 9-to-5 office hours are becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the widespread adoption of mobile technology and a more relaxed attitude toward time-keeping by bosses, a new study shows. But while this may seem like good news for restless desk jockeys, it doesn't mean employees are working fewer hours overall.

The majority of global employers don't mind when employees show up late to work, according to new research by Mozy, a data security and backup provider.  The study of 1,000 U.S., British, German, French and Irish employees and employers found that 73 percent of bosses have a relaxed attitude toward official office hours, since they trust their staff is working long before they actually get to the office.

The average employer is willing to turn a blind eye to employees being up to 32 minutes late and let staff members spend a quarter of the week working from home, the study found. U.S. employers take the most relaxed view, tolerating their staff turning up 37 minutes late in the day.

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Mobile technology has sounded the death knell for traditional office hours, with 75 percent of employers giving their employees the tools they need to get their jobs done wherever they are. In the U.S., 20 percent of employers make it possible for their workers to be able to access everything on the go, including email, network drives and applications, and front- and back-office cloud services

While the majority of employers don't mind when workers start their days later, they in turn expect flexibility from their employees to work outside of normal business hours, even as they wind down for the night. The fluid approach to working hours means that many employers are now comfortable with calling employees after-hours, with 80 percent saying they think it's acceptable to call staff in the evening.

What does the new 9-to-5 look like? The global results show that the average person starts checking their work email at 7:42 a.m., gets into the office at 8:18 a.m., leaves the office at 5:48 p.m., and stops working fully at 7:19 p.m., meaning employees are "in work mode" for nearly 12 hours a day.

"Workers everywhere are making the most of the technology available to them to build more flexibility for work and family," said Russ Stockdale, general manager of Mozy. "Hard work isn't going unnoticed and mobile working and technology is having more of an impact on employer attitudes than people think. We can see from the research findings that we've come a long way towards work being 'a thing that you do,' rather than 'a place that you go.'"

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