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5 Ways to Take the Grind Out of Working 9-to-5

5 Ways to Take the Grind Out of Working 9-to-5
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Don’t look now, but the traditional 9-to-5 workday may soon be obsolete.

A whopping 63 percent of workers believe working a 9-to-5 schedule is an outdated concept, a new CareerBuilder survey found after examining responses from more than 1,000 full-time employees in June.

The survey solidified another rising trend that we all know to be true: many workers keep working outside their traditional workday timeframe. Half of workers surveyed check or respond to work emails outside of work -- and nearly two in five continue working outside of “office hours.”

As a result, many have a hard time leaving the office mentally. Forty-two percent of workers say work is the first thing on their mind when they wake up, and about 20 percent of those workers can’t enjoy time off due to work consuming their thoughts.

The 9-to-5 isn’t working anymore. Embrace the new ways we work, and help employees achieve work-life balance, with these five alternatives:

1. The four-day work week.

The four-day workweek isn’t an entirely new concept, but it’s becoming a reality in the corporate world. Employees at Reusser Design, a web app development company, work longer hours four days a week, Monday through Thursday, and have Fridays off.

The Indiana-based company opens doors bright and early at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. After two years operating on this schedule, Nate Reusser, the company’s founder and CEO, found it motivates the team to work faster and with greater focus.

A four-day workweek could do wonders for productivity, and a three-day weekend might be just what employees need to decompress.

Related: Beware! Is a 9-to-5 Schedule Turning Employees Into Zombies?

2. The employee-made schedule.

HubSpot focuses its culture on what gets done rather than how and where. To align with its beliefs, the inbound marketing agency trusts employees to make their own schedules, meaning they can work when they want as long as work gets done well.

Not every employee works best within the 9-to-5 time frame. Some employees work better before the crack of dawn. Some are night owls and most productive between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Find out what works best for each employee. It could make a big impact on productivity and quality of work.

Related: 7 Tips for Creating Your Own Co-working Space

3. Co-working.

The shared office space trend is booming with organizations like AlleyNYC growing fast. Spaces like these serve as an office for people who work remotely or need to get out of the house to focus on a project.

They’re not dominated by freelancers anymore. Tech startups and boutique agencies have adopted coworking in shared office spaces as a valuable alternative to the high costs of renting traditional office space. For instance, the New York City-based Saltworks Media team co-works one to three days each week and collaborates online for the other days.

"Having spent years managing globally-distributed teams at Google, I've learned that you don't always need to be in the same room to collaborate effectively: today's technology affords us so many options, from video conference to Gchat to email and more," says Saltworks' founder and CEO, Esther Brown. "It's important to us that our team also enjoys the flexibility to work in the places and ways that make them feel happiest and most productive."

Consider allowing employees to cowork for part of the week or even half of the day, or let team members have free reign of where they work during defined hours.

4. Sabbaticals.

Adobe offers paid sabbaticals to employees -- a full four weeks at the employee’s five-year anniversary. The length of sabbaticals increases every five years for the first three sabbaticals. After 10 years, employees get five weeks paid time off, and after 15, it increases to six weeks and remains there for each following five-year anniversary.

Organizations experiencing problems retaining employees should think about ways to celebrate the long tenure of loyal team members. A nice run of paid time off might be the perfect gift.

5. Vacation stipends.

A week or two of paid time off is nice, but a vacation stipend on top is even better. Arthrex offers "years of service” trips, which are similar to sabbaticals, but come with a bonus to spend on a vacation. After five years, employees get a week plus money to cover travel costs. Every five years following, employees get two weeks plus the bonus. Employees can also combine the time with other saved paid vacation time. For example, one of Arthrex’s maintenance technicians used his “years of service” trip for a three-week European tour of Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

More than just paid time off, offering a bonus to help offset expensive travel costs will help encourage employees to actually step away from the daily grind and get out of town -- or even out of the country. They’ll come back refreshed and inspired.

Related: The U.S. Has Become the No Vacation Nation