‘Working 9 – 5 what a way to make a living’ – The change in working patterns

Well, that was the famous song in the late 70’s, when women were working to have it all and were desperately trying to compete in the board room while juggling family life and yes, most people clocked in at 9am and left at 5pm. How things have changed…

Dolly Parton recently brought her musical stage show of the movie to the Edinburgh Playhouse and, having had the good fortune to go along, this feel good show certainly gave me some food for thought. Set in the late 1970’s, there were no computers – just typewriters: no i-phones, iPads or Blackberries – just desk bound devices with curly cables. Our working lives have changed so much since then and although we have far more technology to help make us more productive and efficient, there is still the day to day juggle of professional vs family life that has to be taken into consideration for both men and women. We have relaxed work patterns over the years so there is now no longer a “9 to 5” mentality in most work places. However that brings it’s own pressure in now having the facility to work 24/7 if we so require – another challenge.

Having gone through one of the worst recessions we have ever known, it has made employers and employees reevaluate their life/work balance and there have been some interesting evolutions, particularly over the last 4 years. Employers are more aware that their survival and growth works hand in hand with how happy their employees feel at work as this will also result in increased commitment and aid staff retention.

As such they have been far more responsive to part-time workers as it has been a good resource to save on cash flow while still enabling the job to get done. For a number of roles, working from home has also promised some great advantages, however if this is not done correctly it can be disruptive for all involved.

We have seen a massive surge in the number of people working on a self employed basis doing consultancy work, this creates opportunities that can be mutually beneficial but isn’t always as straight forward as it would seem.

Working on a consultancy basis may seem attractive but you have to take into consideration the back office challenges that working for a larger organisation you may very rarely notice. Admin, IT, Accounts and Suppliers all need to be dealt with no matter how much work you are bringing in and they are the thing’s that usually eat away extra hours or money if you choose to outsource. Most people who give up a job to become a self-employed consultant do so as they want a more flexible working arrangement and to earn more money. However statistics show that in the first 3 years of a business start-up, most people work longer hours than they have ever worked and for less money.

All the flexibility that employers now show, and that we look for in a job, comes down to one key question …. “Are we happy in our work?” Data gathered since 2006 shows that people everywhere feel less confident, motivated, loyal, resilient, committed and engaged. Research, involving 9,000 people from around the world, reveals some astonishing findings. Employees who report being happiest at work:

• Stay twice as long in their jobs as their least happy colleagues
• Spend double their time at work focused on what they are paid to do
• Take ten times less sick leave
• Believe they are achieving their potential twice as much

If you’re really happy at work, you’ll solve problems faster, be more creative, adapt fastest to change, receive better feedback, get promoted quicker and earn more over the long-term.

So in 2013 we will see yet more changes in the workplace, fortunately there should be more opportunities whether that is promotional, working patterns or new jobs coming to the market place as companies put their growth strategies back in place. So to quote another old time favourite song, “Come on along get happy”…..Is this your time for New Year, New Job?

Pauline Dickson is Managing Director of Dickson Lewis, a specialist Accountancy Recruitment Company (www.dicksonlewis.com) and Training and Development consultant for Think Global Recruitment (www.thinkgr.com). Pauline is also the Director for Scotland of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). Dickson Lewis is based at Wemyss House, 45 Frederick Street, Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 2000
e-mail:pauline@dicksonlewis.com and Think Global Recruitment is based at 93 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES Tel: +44 131 260 5850 email pdickson@thinkgr.com.

This article was featured in Families Edinburgh magazine. The full magazine can be viewed at www.familiesonline.co.uk/LOCATIONS/Edinburgh