Jobs and the Future of Work

Could we soon be seeing the end of 9-5?

A person working at a laptop.

About half of employees would like to have complete flexibility when it comes to their work schedule, a new report says. Image: Unsplash/ Headway

Anna Fleck
Data Journalist, Statista
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Jobs and the Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

  • Having experienced remote working during COVID-19, employees now want greater flexibility on working hours.
  • Half would like to have complete flexibility when it comes to their schedule, according to a new report by Adobe.
  • Workers in Germany are keener than those in any of the other seven countries surveyed.
  • Younger people are also more in favour, with three-quarters of Millennials wanting more control over their work schedule.

After having had a taste of remote working through the pandemic, employees are now yearning for even greater flexibility when it comes to their working hours. According to a report by Adobe, 51 percent of enterprise employees would like to have complete flexibility when it comes to their schedule, in contrast to only 16 percent of respondents who said their ideal work week would have no flexibility at all, but rather “start and end work according to a set work schedule.”

The 2021 report, titled ‘The Future of Time’, states that this desire for a flexi approach was found in all seven of the surveyed countries, including the UK, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and Japan. Of these, Germans were the keenest group to embrace flexible working hours, with 56 percent of respondents supporting it. They were also the group with the highest percentage of people currently experiencing a flexible lifestyle, at 39 percent. Japan currently has the lowest share of people working flexible hours out of the seven countries surveyed, at only 12 percent, but it too had nearly half (48 percent) of respondents stating they’d like to work in a less restrictive manner in the future if possible.

Younger generations in particular appear to care about levels of self-autonomy over their work schedule, with 73 percent of Millenials saying that they would switch jobs to another with greater flexibility if their salary and job description stayed the same, according to the report. At the same time, as Wrike writes, an increase in flexible work schedules may also help gender equality, as parents can share the burden of child care. This trend appears to be gaining steam, as we’ve seen more companies taking up the idea, and even governments, as Ireland now gets set to implement the right to request flexible work arrangements, according to RTÉ.

This chart shows how employees want greater flexibility in their work schedules.
Flexible working arrangements have been made possible since the pandemic. Image: Statista
Have you read?

Times have changed since Henry Ford introduced 8 hour shifts for factory workers, back in the early 1900s. As Forbes writes, living in a service economy is not the same as a manufacturing economy; we now have the technology to connect us with colleagues in different time zones instantaneously, and for many people, at least in the global north, social patterns have completely changed. As Adobe writes, “Employers need to address these challenges, or risk losing top talent.”

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

5 reasons why companies should launch an alumni network

Jaci Eisenberg and Uxio Malvido

June 13, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum