Is the 9-5 making staff sick?

In Corporate Wellness Blog by tailoredfit

The classic 9am to 5pm workday seems to be disappearing. For most of us it actually just seems to be getting longer and longer!

We are expecting more from our staff in this age of connectivity, but do these longer hours actually lead to getting more done? Or are we sacrificing production capacity in favour of a short-term production increase?

Alongside companies who are trying to squeeze every hour of the day from their employees sit another type of company who believe that less is more. That’s not less work, but less time in the office. Many forward-thinking companies have started to introduce ‘core-hours’, that is the set times at which staff need to be in the office. These may be from 10-4pm or even from 11-3. This doesn’t mean staff are working a 4-hour day, they still put in the usual 8+ hours, but they might choose to start at 7am and finish at 3pm or start at 10am and work through until 6pm. Some may even work from home for the first or last few hours of the day.

So, what are some of the benefits of ‘core-hours’ and how can they positively affect productivity and staff health?

Working without distractions

How often have you sat, trying to complete an important piece of work when suddenly, you seem to be the most popular person in the office?! Whether it’s people popping over for a chat or asking if you “have 5 minutes”, such distractions can significantly reduce productivity.

Either working from home or being in the office before or after the core hours allow staff to focus on critical tasks with a minimum of distraction. As well as improving productivity, this benefits mental wellbeing and even physical wellbeing, as employees are less likely to work longer than necessary, giving time for rest, exercise and sleep.

Avoid rush hour stress

As anyone who commutes during rush hour will know; it’s not an ideal way to start the day! Fighting for standing room on a hot sweaty train does little for your mental wellbeing and stress levels.

Core hours allow staff to arrive into work before or after the main rush, either getting work done at home prior to coming in or staying a little later in the evenings. This makes for staff who are less stressed, more productive and don’t start the day hot, sweaty and irritable.

Work at the most productive times

As mentioned in our previous article on sleep, around 40% of staff are early birds, 30% are night owls and the other 30% fall somewhere in between. This means if all staff are in for 9am, some will still be groggy, while others will have missed an hour of their most productive time.

With core hours your early birds could be in the office for 7.30am and leave at 4pm, while your night owls can work until 6.30pm and be back in the office for 10am. This would allow them both to work at their peak hours. This is a lot more efficient than expecting all staff to work a standard 9-5, which often gets extended to 6 or 7pm anyway in order to cover workload and get the work done. Longer hours wouldn’t always be necessary if staff are working at their most efficient, more of the time.


At Tailored Fit, we know one size doesn’t fit all, so we are not suggesting core hours is guaranteed to work for your company. What we aim to do is challenge the status quo and ensure that procedures promote productivity and health and aren’t unnecessarily dogmatic. If you want to see a few ways in which we can help your company, check out our services page or get in touch here.