Have you noticed how the world is still organised around most people working a 9-5 mon-fri job?
Do you work that sort of job? See I don’t know many people who do – even those who work in offices now routinely work flexi-time hours. I am not just talking about people who have taken a specific arrangement to allow them to arrive late because of dropping off kids at school and make up the hours or who have complicated arrangements to allow them to continue working despite illness/disability or caring responsibilities. Increasingly I find most of my friends use work-from-home arrangements and routinely shift their hours to start before 8 in the morning or finish after 8 in the evening in order to compensate for complex projects or odd sleeping patterns. And that’s before we get into shift workers and service industries…
So why do we maintain the fiction?
Well first off I think there is the fact that everyone needs one day off a week (and lets be honest 2 is better) but a core set of hours is essential for real conversations because there are some things that can’t be done by email so why get rid of the ones that we already have?
But the second reason which we admit less often.. is that we also want core socialising hours. We want time to fit in those hours of meeting friends- days when plenty of people can go to weddings and funerals, parties and gigs.
So what do those of us whose job it is to cater to people socialising do? Those of us who decline invitations due to work commitments 3/4 of the time? Who work mostly evenings and weekends? When do we organise our parties? And how do we make our shifts more compatible with the vagaries of modern family life?
Yet perhaps as the world begins to shift to a more flexible model it will be possible to break out of the 9-5 mon-fri pattern and to still keep both work contact hours and core social connections – its complicated and it doesn’t work all the time but?