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

Between what life requires and technology allows, commuting to the office for an eight-hour workday increasingly looks like a pointless ritual.

learn more about Matt Straz

By Matt Straz


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Matt Straz will be at the Entrepreneur 360™ conference on October 7, 2015 in New York City. He will join a panel of experts to discuss effective hiring strategies for growing your company. Register now.

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A whopping 63 percent of workers believe working a 9-to-5 schedule is an outdated concept, a new CareerBuilder survey found after examining responses from more than 1,000 full-time employees in June.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

Matt Straz

Founder and CEO of Namely

Matt Straz is the founder and CEO of Namely, the HR and payroll platform for the world's most exciting companies.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Celebrity Entrepreneurs

'I Dreaded Falling in Love.' Rupert Murdoch Is Getting Hitched for the Fifth Time.

The 92-year-old media tycoon announces he will wed former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.


How Great Entrepreneurs Find Ways to Win During Economic Downturns

Recessions are an opportunity to recalibrate and make great strides in your business while others are unprepared to brave the challenges. Here's how great entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success despite economic uncertainty.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.

Starting a Business

Selling Your Business? Do These 6 Things Right Now.

If you want the maximum price you need to make these moves before you do anything else.

Business News

'Invest In That Future Now Before It's Too Late': Bill Gates Calls For Global Pandemic Response Team In Op-Ed

In the same month that the World Health Organization called the coronavirus a pandemic three years ago, billionaire Bill Gates reiterated his call for a "fire department for pandemics."