The New Popularity of 9 to 5

Last Updated Apr 16, 2009 6:22 PM EDT

If you read me regularly, you know I'm a huge fan of flexible working arrangements.

I love the idea of adjusted shifts, working remotely, and carving out personal time to complement your working hours. My iPhone and netbook are my favorite gadgets, allowing me to get things done from virtually anywhere.

But, says Hannah Seligson from, not everyone is enamored of working at night, on weekends, or on vacation. For some, work-life balance means enforcing a traditional 8-hour day.

"Nine-to-five is back in vogue for a growing number of high-level women -- and, in some cases, men -- who are building barricades to keep work in its place. They're shutting off their BlackBerrys, refusing after-hours e-mails and just saying ''no" to business travel, all in the interest of balance."
Limit-setting is becoming more popular. I work with one exec who won't answer her cell phone or e-mail between 7 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Monday. Seligson describes an IBM vice president who won't schedule meetings before 9 a.m. so she can spend mornings with her son. And Xerox Chief Executive Ann Mulcahy says, "Businesses need to be 24/7. Individuals don't."

On the flip side, carving out such firm boundaries can be dangerous. You don't want to be perceived as less committed to your job as your peers (or competition), and limiting your accessibility can create frustration from co-workers as well as fears about how emergencies might be handled.

And it's probably not something to implement before you've earned your stripes at an organization. A well-respected senior manager who sticks to an 8-hour schedule will likely get less push-back than a new hire who's yet to prove himself.

What do you think?

(image by peregrine blue via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for and writes regularly for and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.