The 9-to-5 Workday Is Dead

How our working lives have changed since the pandemic.

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The 9-to-5 Workday is Dead:

For many of us, our work habits were completely uprooted since the start of the pandemic. We learned to work in new ways after the government and companies forced our hands. A corporate restructuring of the standard 9-to-5 workday, by allowing remote work and more flexible schedules, has been one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic; and honestly, it was long overdue. Pew Research has some really great data on how coronavirus has changed the way Americans work.

When the pandemic began, it was absolute chaos in our household. I was lucky enough to be employed in a sector that didn’t require me to be in an office. All of the technology was available at my fingertips to do my job remotely. I adapted, albeit slower than anticipated, but have now found my groove of being much more productive than working in a typical office setting. And I’m never planning on going back to the office on a full-time basis. The results from the poll below show others are aligned with a similar mindset.

Most employers do not want to resort to a remote-only workforce for a variety of reasons. It’s harder to onboard new employees and arguably more difficult to build a collaborative culture when you aren’t working directly face-to-face with your coworkers or clients. There’s also an inherent level of trust between the employee and the employer that the work will get done on time, under budget, and with the same quality as if it was done in the office setting. Yet there still seems to be a stigma around accounting for every hour worked by the employee even if the work is done under the budgeted hours.

The downsides of the standard 9-to-5 job and putting “butts in seats” have become apparent since the forced shift to remote working. Your job shouldn’t be centered around punching a time clock and putting in face time if the work is already done. But rather it should be focused on producing results and deliverables—whatever they may be in your line of work. The difference now is you don’t have to twiddle your thumbs at your desk after you’ve completed a task. Instead, you can be more productive in your personal life by doing something you enjoy on your own terms.

This has been shown in the Pew research as noted below:

For workers who are working from home all or most of the time now but rarely or never did before the pandemic (and are in the same job they had pre-pandemic), there have been some clear upsides associated with the shift to telework. About half (49%) say they now have more flexibility to choose when they put in their hours. This is substantially higher than the share for teleworkers who were working from home all or most of the time before the pandemic, only 14% of whom say they have more flexibility now. In addition, 38% of new teleworkers say it’s easier now to balance work with family responsibilities (vs. 10% of teleworkers who worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak). On the downside, 65% of workers who are now teleworking all or most of the time but rarely or never did before the pandemic say they feel less connected to their coworkers now. Among more seasoned teleworkers, only 27% feel this way.

Having a remote job isn’t all roses though. Sometimes it can be hard to make the switch between the office and home life. For example, my office is located in an open floor space next to the living room. When the workday is over, my laptop still stares at me from the couch. If I had left that laptop at work, I physically wouldn’t be able to be on at all times throughout the day and night and on weekends. Boundaries just have to be set between your coworkers and managers so that you aren’t logged on around the clock—good luck if you work in IB or law.

The biggest benefits I’ve come to realize since becoming a full-time remote worker:

  • Hours saved not having to commute or get ready in the morning.

  • More time spent around the house doing chores and being more organized.

  • Increased happiness from flexibility and freedom of oversight.

  • Being more active and getting outside more (gardening and playing a ton of golf).

  • More personal time spent with family.

  • Fewer interruptions and chit-chat. People only call or IM if it’s important.

Remote working is just one aspect of having more flexibility around your career. Whether you work on-site or remotely, what if your employer reduced your weekly working hours while still maintaining the same level of pay? It sounds crazy, but this is exactly what Iceland has been experimenting with since 2015.

As reported by CNBC: Iceland ran two large-scale trials between 2015-19, cutting working weeks to between 35 and 36 hours from a 40 hour-week for many, with no reduction in pay. The trials, which eventually included 2,500 workers, were initiated by the council in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and the country’s national government. 

Data was collected throughout the trials, measuring indicators such as wellbeing, performance, and work-life balance. The findings indicated an improved well-being and work-life balance among workers, as people found it easier to do household errands and make more time for themselves, for example. The report also noted that men took on more responsibilities around the house after the trial started, which helped to reduce stress at home (Read: wives’ distaste for their husbands decreased dramatically). 

While the results from Iceland are optimistic, this will probably not be happening soon in the United States—at least on a large scale. However, smaller companies have already been experimenting with this relatively newer concept.

Buffer, a company that makes social media management tools, has been letting its 89 employees work four days a week since May 2020. As noted by some of the employees, the workers still seemed to be getting the same amount of work done in less time. This makes sense on multiple fronts. People are incentivized to work harder if they know they will receive a reward (an additional day off each week in this case). Moreover, workers typically perform better under pressure and tight deadlines—as described by Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted. Put simply, the amount of work required adjusts to the time available for its completion. The term was first coined by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a humorous essay he wrote for the Economist in 1955. Read his original article here.

The takeaway: At the end of the day, employees just want more flexibility and freedom in their work lives. Whether that comes as a cost to the employer or a cost to the employee doesn’t really matter. Many of us have decided that we’d give up more money to have a better work-life balance. Companies that decide to restrict some of these benefits will be on the way out and the power will start to shift to talented workers who realize they can do better.

If you’re someone who is interested in a hybrid work model that is part-time or full-time remote, I’d recommend that you reach out to your company’s management or HR team and ask if it’s something they would consider.

For me though, I have no plans of going back to this 👇

Performance Update:

Now let’s see how the People’s Portfolio did this week…

Our six straight weeks of gains sadly came to an end this week as our portfolio was down a whopping $4.85 on the week. The Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all closed at all-time highs heading into the weekend. Seems to be a recurring theme and possibly the pain trade as most people I follow think the market is overvalued. Whatever you do, just don’t look at the Shiller PE ratio chart.

On Friday, we voted the S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) to remain in the portfolio for another 10 weeks. XBI is -2.19% over the past 10 weeks.

Waste Management (WM) is on the chopping block next week for the 1st time. We’re currently holding onto a 1.15% gain over the past 9 weeks.

Our portfolio is currently -2.24% on the year. I’ll just be happy if we get back to even on the year.

Keep an eye out for the new Twitter poll every Friday. Follow along in real-time with nearly 300,000 others on Public.

Portfolio News Highlights:

The biggest stories affecting our portfolio this week:

  • Coinbase stock gains after Oppenheimer analyst gets a little more bullish (MarketWatch)

  • Nvidia Target Lifted as Truist Lauds Data-Center Trends, Software (TheStreet)

  • Shopify Stock Story More Instructive Than Chart (IBD)

  • Square plans to make hardware wallet for bitcoin (Reuters)

  • Exxon Leads Oil Stocks Higher as Crude Jumps, Shell Boosts Investor Returns (TheStreet)

  • Disney Is On Pace To Have The Biggest Movie Premiere Since The Pandemic Began (IBD)

What Else We’re Reading:


  1. The Inner Ring of the Internet - Ali Montag (Every)

  2. China’s gene giant harvests data from millions of women - Kirsty Needham and Clare Baldwin (Reuters)

  3. A Memo to Investors - Drew Dickson (Albert Bridge Capital)

  4. Psychedelic Drug Psilocybin Sparks Immediate and Lasting Growth To Neural Connections - Tim McMillan (The Debrief)


The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion - Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell

Need new reading material? Visit my Amazon page for my most purchased book recommendations.

Tweets of the Week: