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News » New work hours stretching from 7-to-7: Bevi study

New work hours stretching from 7-to-7: Bevi study

Photo from Bevi

MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES — In a departure from the traditional 9-to-5 workday, a new study reveals a trend towards longer office hours, with employees starting as early as 7 a.m. and finishing well beyond 7 p.m. 

A research by water cooler company Bevi examined usage data from its machines, which are present in 25% of Fortune 500 company offices, to understand how much time employees are spending at work post-pandemic. 

The findings reveal that while workers’ days in the office are fewer than pre-pandemic, they are significantly longer.

“A greater portion of in-office hours now take place before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. than before the pandemic,” Bevi said in its return-to-office report.

Compared to 2019 when most began work between 9-10 a.m., there has been a 25% increase in the number clocking in at 7 a.m. Over 2% arrive even earlier between 5-7 a.m., up from just 0.6% pre-pandemic.

Although the overall in-office attendance still peaks around noon, there’s a noticeable drop in the afternoon—a trend referred to as the “dead zone.” However, post-7 p.m. attendance has risen sharply, suggesting that employees are maximizing their office presence on the days they do come in. 

“This could be a strategy to avoid the commute, and it’s possible people are falling into two camps: starting earlier in order to leave earlier, or coming in later and leaving later,” the report said.

Impact of longer shift on working parents

The lack of flexibility is forcing many to decline promotions or stay in current roles that offer the necessary work-life balance. This situation underscores a growing concern that the new office hours might disproportionately affect the career trajectories of working mothers.

According to a research by the Fawcett Society, over a third of mothers are already stuck in their current jobs despite opportunities for advancement, as their role provides needed flexibility. Meanwhile, over 40% have turned down promotions due to concerns over childcare compatibility.

“There were so many things that we’ve learned from that around the need for flexibility, particularly around the fact that you can still do the job, but it doesn’t have to be within the nine-to-five framework,” Alicia Iveson, CEO at Hijinks Collective, an advertising agency, told Fortune.

As workplaces navigate this hybrid working world, the balance between office presence and flexibility remains a key challenge, with significant implications for workforce dynamics and career development.

Hybrid work boosts women’s workforce return in U.S.

Recent data shows that women’s labor force participation in the United States has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reaching 73% by the end of 2023, up from 70% in 2020.

The pandemic saw the departure of many women from their jobs due to increased domestic responsibilities, including childcare and eldercare. But nowadays, the trend towards flexible work arrangements has been a key factor, according to a February report by Moody’s Analytics. Remote jobs offer a pathway to higher-income roles, especially for millennials balancing childcare costs and housing.

In the United Kingdom, Public First revealed that 58.7% of women were fully employed in 2023, from 56.5% in 2019. The surge has been more apparent in sectors implementing hybrid work, such as finance and insurance (75% to 83%), and information and communication (79% to 83%).

Countries like Australia, India, Japan, and the European Union are leading the charge in adopting flexible working schedules and increasing gig and freelance opportunities. This has helped narrow the gender labor force gap and added an estimated $1.5 trillion to global income.

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