Monday 19 August 2019

Staff call time on 9-to-5 day as demand for flexible work grows

All change: Ricoh’s Chas Moloney says the traditional workplace is a thing of the past
All change: Ricoh’s Chas Moloney says the traditional workplace is a thing of the past

Shawn Pogatchnik

MANY office-based employees believe they can and should be free to work anywhere and the traditional office culture may soon become a historical relic, according to a survey envisioning Ireland's 'office of the future'.

The poll of 150 office workers in Ireland - conducted by Coleman Parkes Research for the Ricoh electronics company - found that 57pc feel confident that technology allows them to work from any location, and 42pc think a physical office will not be required within the coming decade.

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A third of those polled said they thought the whole concept of a nine-to-five work day would cease to exist, reflecting the strong preference of Generation Z, defined as those born since 1996.

"It's quite clear from our findings that Irish office workers see the concept of the traditional workplace as a thing of the past. Employees no longer want to sit at a desk for eight hours a day. Instead, people want to use their time wisely and work smarter, wherever they are," said Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh for Ireland and the UK.

About 40pc of those polled identified employer inflexibility on working hours and locations as a key dislike.

Mr Moloney said this was particularly the case for Generation Zers and Generation Y, those born from 1981 to 1995. "The youngest generations in the workforce have grown up with technology and want more fluidity in their roles. The workplace needs to adapt to this and accommodate everyone," he said.

"Versatility is seen as a defining element of the 'office of the future'. It's clear there is a gap here and perhaps organisations aren't doing enough to enable new and individual work styles," he added.

"In a world where technology can connect people from across the world in an instant and allow them to complete tasks much more quickly, there is no excuse for not empowering employees to work in a way that suits them."

While the so-called 'gig economy' is criticised for its lack of employment security and health and pension benefits, the survey finds substantial acceptance of a world where workers freelance from assignment to assignment.

Some 51pc of those polled said they found the flexibility of gig assignments attractive, including half of baby- boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

Irish Independent

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