Believe me, I know the benefits and negatives of working nontraditional hours. My first job out of college was a 4 p.m. to midnight shift, Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sleeping in and having day hours to run errands and schedule doctors appointments, awesome. Not being able to attend birthday dinners and happy hours with friends or have a drink at the Saturday afternoon barbecue? Less awesome.
But flexibility means new things for Gen Y, which Time defines as those born between 1982 and 1993. Eight straight hours at a desk — whether they be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 4 p.m. to midnight — might no longer be the norm. Telecommuting, interweaving our personal and professional lives and being constantly connected to work email all contribute to the blurring of the traditional 9-to-5.
And rather than created distracted or unmotivated employees, this flexibility is creating happier, more loyal men and women who feel more respected and thereby work harder. On a personal level, I sincerely appreciate being able to scoot out a half-hour early when I’m driving the four hours home for the weekend. Or, working a bit shorter one day and longer the next to catch a film screening at York College.
But I questioned some of the points. For example:
Cisco’s “Connected World Technology” report shows that more than half of Gen Y employees prioritize social-media freedom over a higher salary when evaluating a job offer.
Do they? Do you? I have a hard time visualizing this. As a journalist (and in many other offices, too), Facebook and Twitter are part of my workday. I can’t imagine not having access. But prioritizing social-media freedom over a pay raise? It seems like a stretch. In a list of things 20-somethings expect in their workplace, I don’t know that Facebook access is one of them.
On the other hand, I’m only one person. Would you be upset if your office blocked social media sites? Would you search for a lower-paying job elsewhere to get that access? And on a larger scale, do you have flexibility in your work schedule? How has it affected you?