MBA Research

Trend #12: Redefinition of Workplace and Work Hours

Business Trend

In our ongoing conversations with the business community, we asked them to identify business trends impacting the workplace. One of the most frequently identified trends: redefinition of workplace and work hours.

Workplace Implications

In this age of technology, work has shifted to accommodate customers' expectations of 24/7 service. Many businesses have implemented non-traditional business hours to meet these expectations. In this way, problems can be resolved, orders can be placed, and information can be provided at any time, day or night, seven days a week. In effect, employees are always “on the clock,” representing their businesses at all times. Mobile and digital technologies facilitate meeting these demands by allowing employees to work from anywhere. Using virtual teams that are geographically dispersed has become more common. Employees may never meet in person. Collaboration, communication, and project management skills have all become more critical in this environment.

As the definition of the work hours and the workplace changes the separation of work and home diminishes. The expectation of 24/7 availability has negatively impacted work/life balance and has also created challenges with employment law compliance.

Classroom Implications

Students need to have a realistic view of remote work, the productivity and performance expectations of business that allow remote work, and self-management skills necessary for success as a remote worker. They need to understand the definition of work/life balance, strategies such as flexible work schedules available to achieve balance, the potential trade-offs, and their responsibilities in making arrangements work. Students also need to understand issues associated with teaming virtually and the skills necessary for success.