By Julia Tereno
Imagine waking up on a Monday morning and realising that you don’t have to go to work, not because you are unemployed or on leave, but because you only work three days a week and Monday is not one of these days. Also, did I mention you are not a freelancer or an entrepreneur? That’s right, the company you are employed with allows you to have a three – day workweek. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
However, this could be a reality for you, if you work for one of the 400 companies under the umbrella of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The billionaire recently wrote in a Virgin.com blog post that he believes in flexible working initiatives, like working from home and unlimited leave policy. According to a CNBC article, he also stated that with today’s technological advances, people could work less hours and be just as effective, maybe even more.
With technology’s constant development and the arrival of younger generations in the workplace, flexible working hours is a growing trend. Traditional corporations are beginning to understand that to attract new talents they need to adapt to modern demands. According to a survey by Catalyst, by 2025, three – quarters of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials. Moreover, the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey showed that 50 per cent of Millennials pointed out flexibility in hours and location as a very important factor when choosing a place to work.
It is no secret that younger generations are seeking better quality of life and positive working environments. As a Millennial myself, the idea that I should follow my parents’ script of success, and work in a 9 to 5 corporate job, is neither appealing nor comforting when I think about my future. We see career as something we should love doing. It should be about pursuing a passion and being able to have a healthy personal life. And technology today can help make that happen. It’s not just about work – life balance; it’s about work – life integration.
With artificial intelligence, smartphones and cloud systems, we can work from anywhere at any time, so why not work from home? Why not be able to manage our own schedules, according to our personal waves of productivity? Some people are more effective during morning hours, while others work better overnight. If you have a job that doesn’t necessarily depend on business hours, then why not work during the period of the day, or night, that you know you will be more productive? You might be able to get more done in less time. This is exactly what Branson defends, as he calls it “flexible working is smart working.”
People today are so used to technology, as we use it to support almost everything we do. From keeping in touch with people, organizing our calendars with apps, using social media, to unlocking doors and dimming the lights through voice command.
While many are afraid technology is taking jobs away from real people, it also brings new opportunities. As seen by the new business models, shared economy and software development, technology can help us streamline our life quality. We live in a connected world; therefore we can take advantage of the technological enhancements and ultimately be more effective in our jobs, while working fewer hours. So, for those who thought that perceiving Monday as a non – working day sounded like an impossible dream, brace yourselves: this reality may be closer than you think.
Photo by William Murphy on Flickr